Saturday's unclaimed Powerball jackpot means the lottery's pool will turn over a 20th time, and a ticket-buying frenzy is expected to drive the prize to $1.3 billion by the next drawing on Wednesday. The purse has been growing since November 4th, when it started at $40 million, thanks in large part to the lotto gods worsening the odds of what was already a sucker's game, changing them from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292.2 million.
News of Saturday's unredeemed record $949 million jackpot eclipsed word that someone bought a winning Mega Millions ticket worth $165 million on Friday night from a Graniteville, Staten Island bodega. The winning buyer has not been identified. The New York Post reports he or she will bring home $101 million after taxes.
Meanwhile, Powerball fever continued to grip New York.
A manager at Bay Ridge's 72 Lucky Lotto deli told the tabloid that more than 1,000 people lined up to buy Powerball tickets on Friday, before the pot thickened.
"Everyone knows you can’t win, if you don’t play," James Smallwood told the Daily News at the Fordham Grocery and Convenience store in the Bronx. "In life, you have to take chances." Smallwood bought 31 tickets with his mother and sister.
According to a newswire report:
The jackpot will be the biggest since a $564.1 million Powerball prize shared by players from North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico in February 2015. The previous biggest jackpot ever was a $656 million Mega Millions prize won in 2012. Powerball's largest jackpot was more than $590 million in May 2013.
The U.S. saw sales of $277 million on Friday alone and more than $400 million Saturday, according to Gary Grief, the executive director of the Texas Lottery.
Mandatory killjoy disclaimer: Of course, the lottery is structured to make the people who operate it rich, not ordinary citizens, so buying a ticket is as rational an act as setting $2 on fire. Winning also has a good chance of ruining your life in ways currently unimaginable. But hey, NPR managed to find someone who kept it together after winning in 2005, so there's hope yet. And somebody's got to win, right?
me after I win the $900 million lottery https://t.co/PqvVUBdu4E
— WSHH FANS (@WORIDSTARHIPH0P) January 10, 2016