Winning $1.6b Powerball tickets sold in three states
Commuters drive past a sign showing the Powerball jackpot in Wednesday's drawing is posted outside the Mobil Mart in Methuen.
Los Angeles - Winning tickets sold in California, Tennessee and Florida
Winning tickets in the nearly $1.6-billion Powerball lottery were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee, officials said on Thursday, leaving at least three people to split the record-setting jackpot.
California Lottery officials confirmed that the winning six numbers had been purchased at a convenience store outside Los Angeles, as well as at locations in Florida and Tennessee. The identity of the winners was not yet known.
Lottery officials said it could be several hours before it is known whether there are other winners in the 44 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories where Powerball is played.
The six winning numbers were 08, 27, 34, 04, 19 and Powerball 10. They were picked during a late Wednesday draw for the $1.586 billion prize at lottery offices in Tallahassee, Florida.
| A look at the 10 highest US lottery jackpots|
- $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
- $636 million, Mega Millions Dec 17, 2013, (2 tickets, from California and Georgia)
- $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket from Florida)
- $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)
- $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb 11, 2015 - (3 tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)
- $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug 7, 2013, (3 tickets, one from Minnesota and two from New Jersey)
- $425.3 million, Powerball, Feb 19, 2014 - (1 ticket from California)
- $414 million, Mega Millions, March 18, 2014, (2 tickets from Florida and Maryland)
- $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept 18, 2013, (1 ticket from South Carolina)
- $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)
In Chino Hills, a suburb east of Los Angeles, crowds descended on a 7-Eleven store where the winning ticket had been bought, snapping pictures and congratulating staff. The store will receive a $1-million bonus for selling the ticket.
The odds of picking a winning combination were 1 in 292 million.
The prospect of a huge payout sparked a ticket-buying frenzy that was expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during the evening commuter rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, told a news conference.
Powerball sales were "exponentially higher" than normal, Grief said. Since the jackpot was last hit on Nov. 4, 2015, a total of $2.65 billion worth of Powerball tickets has been sold, he added.
"If I win, I'll give it all away to poor people," said New York restaurant deliveryman Oscan Gamie, 43, after buying a dozen of the $2 tickets at a midtown Manhattan grocery.
Tatiann Cave, a 23-year-old home health aide, said she would use the jackpot to start her own cosmetics business. "I'd like to quit my job and do something inspiring," Cave said.
For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, half goes to prizes, 40 percent to causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said.
A look at the record $1.5B Powerball drawing
The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $1.5 billion, easily surpassing all other lotteries to become the largest such prize in the world.
Here's what you need to know about the Powerball ahead of the Wednesday night drawing in the US:
A RECORD JACKPOT
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4. Since no one has won, the prize keeps growing, along with ticket sales in the 44 participating states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The jackpot estimate is reviewed daily, and the odds of winning are 1 in 292.2 million.
Other countries offer large jackpots too. Spain's massively popular Christmas lottery, known as "El Gordo," is ranked as the world's richest, though it doles out a single jackpot among millions of prizes, instead of one large jackpot like the Powerball. El Gordo last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country.
STATES THAT DON'T PLAY
Six states have no lotteries of any kind. Religious beliefs have posed a barrier in Alabama, Mississippi and Utah. Alaska has been more concerned that a lottery wouldn't pay off in such a sparsely populated state. In Hawaii, lawmakers have proposed lottery measures, but the idea always fails. And in Nevada, the lottery snub is largely a nod to the state's casinos, which have no interest in the competition.
THE QUEST FOR TICKETS
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, reports that some of the biggest ticket sales come from border cities. That means residents of states without Powerball are driving to neighboring states to play the lottery.
LUCK OF THE DRAW
Roughly 95 percent of Powerball tickets are computer-generated quick picks, so people's favorite numbers aren't really a factor. Officials don't track which numbers are most popular because so many are randomly generated.