North Carolina residents test their luck in Saturday’s $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot drawing

Saturday’s Powerball jackpot has jumped to a record $1.6 billion, making it the highest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

The advertised jackpot is the prize for a winner who chooses an annuity, paid annually in a 29-year span. Most winners instead opt for the cash prize, which for Saturday night’s drawing would be an estimated $782.4 million.

“I want the big money,” Raleigh resident Gilistine Richardson said.

It only takes one ticket to win.

“You can’t win it if you are not in it,” Raleigh resident Lujuana Patterson said.

The last time anyone won the Powerball was on Aug. 3. It marks 39 consecutive drawings without a winner.

Since then, people have purchased $68.7 million worth of Powerball tickets. In North Carolina, people have spent $13 million on tickets.

Raleigh resident Esther Delany bought five tickets ahead of Saturday night’s drawing.

“I would probably have a heart attack,” Delany said if she won the big prize.

The Powerball drawing is at 10:59 p.m. Saturday, and you can watch it live on WRAL-TV. There are also drawings on Monday and Wednesday.

“I have as good of a chance as anyone else,” Wake Forest resident Cheryl Johnson said.

About 24 cents of every dollar spent on the lottery goes to education in North Carolina. 
Last year, the Education Lottery raised more than $900 million for the state’s schools, which accounts for 10% of the total education budget.

The new jackpot tops the previous record prize of $1.586 billion won in 2016 by three Powerball players in California, Florida and Tennessee.

Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball odds: (Match/Prize/Odds)

  • Matching five white balls and the Powerball: Grand prize of $1.6 billion: One in 292,201,338
  • Matching five white balls: $1 million: One in 11,688,053.52
  • Matching four white balls and the Powerball: $50,000: One in 913,129.18
  • Matching four white balls: $100: One in 36,525.17
  • Matching three white balls and the Powerball: $100: One in 14,494.11
  • Matching three white balls: $7: One in 579.76
  • Matching two white balls and the Powerball: $7: One in 701.33
  • Matching one white ball and the Powerball: $4: One in 91.98
  • Matching the Powerball: $4: One in 38.32

Early drawing sales in North Carolina

  • Aug. 6 — $979,112
  • Aug. 8 — $553,199
  • Aug. 10 — $677,365

Recent drawing sales in North Carolina

  • Oct. 26 — $3,971,445
  • Oct. 29 — $6,833,764
  • Oct. 31 — $9,307,362
  • Nov. 2 — $12,976,576 (Sixth-highest single-drawing sales)​

Top five drawing sales in North Carolina history

  1. Jan. 13, 2016 — $36.5 million in ticket sales in North Carolina
  2. Jan. 9, 2106 — $27.2 million
  3. Nov. 28, 2012 — $18.3 million
  4. May 18, 2013 — $14 million
  5. Aug. 23, 2017 — $13.6 million

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