by Amaia Calhoun

On Wednesday, January 13th, the Powerball jackpot of $1.5 billion was split between three victors. This lottery prize will go down in U.S. history as the largest prize ever. The Powerball started gaining mass attention when the prize was $500 million with numbers set to be drawn on January 6th. The winning ticket did not match any ticket sold, so the next drawing was set for Saturday, January 9th with an even bigger prize of $900 million. Again, no one was able to match their numbers to the numbers spit out by the machine. This meant increasing the prize again for the next drawing on Wednesday, January 13th. After 19 consecutive drawings unsuccessful in producing a winner, $1.5 billion was split between three people with winning tickets. These tickets were sold in California, Tennessee, and Florida.

It is not as easy as dividing 1.5 billion by three to see how much each winner will receive. When winning the lottery, you have the choice of an annuity, a fixed amount of money paid to someone each year till the amount of winnings is reached, or a lump-sum, a single payment made at one time. The lump-sum of this jackpot was $930 million. That means each winner would start with $310 million. Next, taxes are subtracted. Fortunately, none of the winners will have to pay income taxes to their states because of specific state laws, but they will have to pay taxes at the federal level. 39.6% is the requirement in federal income taxes on their prizes. After this deduction, $187.2 million is theirs to keep. Although this is still a great sum of money, it is a lot less than where they started.


How do you win?

In order to win or hit the jackpot, you must match all five winning numbers (drawn from 69 balls) and the one powerball.

What are the odds?

The odds of winning were very slim. There was a 1 in 292 million chance.

Where does the winning money come from?

The more tickets that are sold, the higher the prize is. The jackpot soared so high, because more and more people bought tickets.

What states participate in the Powerball?

All states (including D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) except Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah participate.