New heights: No winner Wednesday; Powerball jackpot climbs to highest total ever
Posted January 6, 2016
Updated January 7, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — The Powerball jackpot rocketed to $675 million, the largest total ever, after nobody won the $500 million prize on Wednesday.
At $675 million, the new sum eclipses the previous record of $656 million set by a March 2012 Mega Millions jackpot. If claimed as a lump sum, the jackpot would be worth $413.1 million.
Wednesday's numbers were: 47, 2, 62, 63, 11 and the power ball was 17.
The Wednesday jackpot already ranked as the sixth largest offered in North America and the biggest since a $564.1 million Powerball prize was shared by players from North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico last February.
Lottery officials said North Carolina is a lucky state when it comes to lottery drawings, with four Powerball winners and two Mega Millions winners in the past 10 years.
A winner of Wednesday's jackpot could have claimed the pre-tax $500 million prize through an annuity over 29 years or in a single pre-tax payout of $306 million.
"[I would] buy some houses for people I love, buy some cars for people I love, donate, I guess," said lottery player Ashley Vrooman of what she would do with her winnings.
Winning the lottery, though, is no time to guess what to do. Lottery officials said it's a life changing event that requires serious thought.
"Any windfall like this, whether you inherit $500 million or you get $500 million in insurance settlement, there'll be changes with that," said Van Denton with the North Carolina State Education Lottery.
In order to get your money, lottery officials advise keeping your ticket safe before the drawing.
"We've got to treat this thing tonight like it's a $500 million asset, so the first thing you do is establish your ownership by signing the back of your ticket," said Denton. "You'll want to put it in a safe place. We're not talking about in your car, on the dresser in the bedroom, we're talking a secure place like a safe, a safe deposit box or something like that."
Denton recommends that winners consult a financial advisor. He also suggests hiring an attorney and taking time, because winners have six months to come forward and claim their prize.
"There are tax questions that need to be answered [about] what would be best for you in terms of your tax situation," said Denton.
The serious decisions that come with a lottery windfall were not deterring people from dreaming big on Wednesday.
"I am a middle school principal and I envision doing lots of wonderful things for my children and my school," said Greta Dula.
"When it gets up this high, split between 20 people, even then dreams can happen," said Nick Matchunis.
Lottery officials reminded hopeful winners to check their tickets carefully. Even if a ticket doesn't win the jackpot, other small prizes are at stake. In 2015, lottery officials said nine people won either $1 million or $2 million.
Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.