Last Wednesday, a Powerball drawing resulted in a Californian resident securing a massive $1.765 billion prize, the second largest win in the history of U.S. lotteries. This near-record jackpot evolved following a streak of 35 consecutive Powerball drawings without a single participant successfully matching the five white balls and red Powerball combination.
The colossal $1.765 billion Powerball run significantly boosted the revenue of the game’s member lotteries. However, the identity of the fortunate ticket holder from Frazier Park, located to the north of Los Angeles, remains unknown. California State Lottery permits jackpot winners of Powerball and Mega Millions to claim their prize within a year of their win.
The winner is presented with a choice to either receive the whole $1.765 billion prize, dispersed over the span of 29 years via annual payments or to opt for a one-time cash payment of $774.1 million. Both of these figures will be readjusted once the federal government extracts its 37% share.
The sequence of jackpot-less drawings, culminated by over 5.3 million prize-winning tickets and the jackpot ticket, has produced tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the state lotteries participating in Powerball.
In California, the state that sold the winning $1.765 billion jackpot ticket, Powerball contributed a net income of $119.5 million. The benefactor of these funds is primarily the K-12 public education.
Alva V. Johnson, the Director of California Lottery, expressed his excitement at the opportunity to continue to fund public education. He extended his gratitude to the 23,000 traditional retailers that sell lottery tickets, for assisting them in fulfilling this crucial mission. As a reward for selling the jackpot ticket, the owners of Midway Market, Frazier Park were presented with a $1 million check.
The appeal of Powerball’s life-altering jackpot lured in an increasing number of entrants over the past month, resulting in a bloom in ticket sales. This surge in purchases, consequently, translated to a greater number of losing tickets, thereby massively benefiting the revenue of the participating state lotteries.
Multiple state lotteries reported substantial gains, attributed to Powerball, including Florida Lottery and Pennsylvania Lottery, that noted revenues of $81.3 million and $54 million respectively.
The decision to reset the Powerball to $20 million and the Mega Millions jackpot to $48 million implies a hiatus of a few months before the jackpots amass to a degree that captures media attention and entices additional players.
Despite the consistent odds of winning the Powerball and the Mega Millions jackpots being approximately one in 292.2 million and one in 302.5 million respectively, the boost in ticket sales leads to a higher coverage of number combinations thereby increasing the likelihood of claiming the jackpots.
Powerball in 2015 and Mega Millions in 2017 made alterations to their gameplay to prolong the odds of winning the jackpot. Lottery executives posit that these changes have resulted in larger jackpots that attract new entrants and yield greater net revenue for the lotteries.