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There’s a chance — a tiny one — that a Powerball player will manage to turn $2 into $421 million on Monday night.
That’s the jackpot amount heading into the week’s first drawing, which comes on the heels of 29 pulls — three weekly — with no one hitting the top prize. The cash option, which most winners choose instead of receiving the money spread over three decades, is $252.1 million.
Of course, the odds are stacked against players, especially for the larger prizes. For the jackpot, a single ticket has a one in 292 million chance of matching all six numbers drawn. Even the chance of winning $1 million is steep: about 1 in 11.7 million.
Nevertheless, someone will become an awful lot richer when the jackpot is won, whether Monday or down the road. The amount will be added to the $25 billion in jackpot money that’s been won since Powerball held its first drawing in April 1992.
This included a nearly $1.6 billion jackpot, which was won in January 2016 and holds the record for the largest ever. (A Mega Millions jackpot nabbed in October 2018 isn’t far behind, at $1.5 billion.)
Lower-tier prizes — which generally range from $4 to as much as $2 million — have delivered another $23 billion to winning players over the last three decades. There also have been 470 tickets that won $2 million and 2,424 tickets that hit $1 million prizes.
Federal tax coffers also end up benefiting from player windfalls.
There’s a 24% federal withholding, which for this jackpot’s $252.1 million cash option would mean $60.5 million getting shaved off the top. Yet with the top marginal tax at 37%, you could expect to owe more to the IRS at tax time.
State taxes also may be withheld or due, depending on where the ticket was purchased. Those rates range from zero (a handful of states either have no income tax or do not tax lottery winnings) to 10.9% in New York.
So far this year, there have been two Powerball jackpots won: Two tickets, sold in California and Wisconsin, split a $632.6 million jackpot in the Jan. 5 drawing; a ticket in Connecticut hit the Feb. 14 jackpot of $185.3 million.
Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot is $31 million for its next drawing, which is set for Tuesday night.