If you bought some Powerball tickets in a St. Patrick’s Day haze on Saturday, check your pockets.
A ticket sold in Pennsylvania matched the drawing for an estimated $456.7 million, the Multi-State Lottery Association said. The winning numbers were 22-57-59-60-66, and the Powerball was 7.
There were other tickets that scored big payouts, too. A ticket sold in Texas won $2 million after a player or players opted to chip in an extra dollar. Two tickets sold in California and Missouri matched the numbers for a $1 million payout.
The Pennsylvania ticket was the eighth-largest in the game’s history, the lottery association said.
That win comes nearly a week after a judge ruled that a woman in New Hampshire could remain anonymous after claiming a $560 million jackpot.
If the new millionaire in Pennsylvania wants to keep their identity secret, they would probably face a similar legal hurdle. The Pennsylvania Lottery requires winners to be named to ensure that the system operates with “integrity and transparency.”
But past winners have argued that the raised profile makes them targets.
Judge Charles Temple, who ruled in favor of the New Hampshire woman, concluded that revealing her name would be an invasion of privacy, in part because lottery winners in general are subject to “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence,” he wrote.
He cited how a past lottery winner received a bomb threat, how another had received nonstop phone calls and how several others had received requests from strangers who wanted handouts.
Less than three years ago, your chances of becoming an instant millionaire were 1 in roughly 175 million after starting with a $2 ticket. Now, the odds are 1 in roughly 292 million.
Tweaks to the game in October 2015 increased the number of total balls, from 59 to 69, from which players need to pick five. It may seem like a modest change, but the odds of winning the jackpot plummeted.
So now it’s even harder to strike it rich with Powerball, leading to fewer chances of big payouts, which in turn results in ballooning jackpots: When a drawing is held and there’s no winning ticket, the prize pool rolls over – and expands.
In turn, the jackpots become bigger and bigger, making winnings of half a billion dollars – like this one – almost feel routine.
But that won’t stop the next round of jackpot chasers. The winning sum has reset to $40 million, with the next drawing Wednesday night.
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