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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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$1.04 billion Powerball jackpot tempts players to brave long odds

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) — An estimated $1.04 billion Powerball jackpot will be up for grabs Monday night, tempting players to spend a couple dollars on a long shot at instant riches.

The prize is the world’s ninth-largest lottery prize behind earlier drawings of Powerball and Mega Millions, the other nearly nationwide lottery game. The jackpot is the fourth-largest in the history of Powerball.

“If I could win it, I’d be the happiest person in the world,” said Chevy Johnson, who was buying Powerball tickets Monday at Bob’s News & Book Store in Fort Lauderdale.

The prize has grown so massive because no one has matched all five white balls and the Powerball to win the jackpot in 32 consecutive drawings, dating back to July 19.

That losing streak reflects the stunningly long odds of winning the jackpot, at 1 in 292.2 million.

Hector Griffith, another customer at Bob’s News, said that if he won, his priority would be taking care of his family.

“It would change my life, completely change my life,” Griffith said. “I can’t wait to win it.”

Donnie Ross, a clerk at a BP gasoline station in New Hope, Minnesota, said when the prize grew so large for a recent jackpot that topped $1 billion, some customers spent hundreds of dollars on tickets.

“We had a huge bunch of people coming in right at the last minute to buy all their tickets before the drawing happened,” Ross said.

The $1.04 billion jackpot is for a sole winner who chooses to receive the winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 30 years. Winners nearly always pick the cash option, which for Monday night’s drawing would be an estimated $478.2 million.

A Powerball ticket costs $2 in most states and players can pick their own numbers or have a computer make the selection.

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

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