The record Powerball jackpot surged to $1.4 billion Monday as people across the country bought their tickets, officials confirmed.
“This is a world record jackpot,” Texas Lottery Commission media relations director Kelly Cripe announced. The lump-sum payout jumped to $868 million.
No one matched all six Powerball numbers Saturday night, leading to the astronomical prize. And that is all but certain to grow again before the next drawing Wednesday, according to lottery officials.
“We’ve never been at these levels,” said Texas Lottery executive director Gary Grief, whose state lottery is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association that runs Powerball.
The odds to win are one in 292.2 million. Seventy-five percent of all the possible combinations were purchased before Saturday’s drawing, Grief said, and he expects that enough tickets will be sold to cover about 80 percent by Wednesday. About 95 percent of Powerball tickets have computer-generated numbers.
“I’ve been in the industry over 20 years, and I’ve seen jackpots hit when we hardly have any of the potential numbers covered — like 5 percent of the possible combinations covered. And I’ve seen other jackpots when we’ve had 95 percent of the combinations covered and it rolls,” Grief said.
The jackpot has ballooned since its Nov. 4 starting point of $40 million and spurred huge ticket sales.
Officials expect similar sales before the next drawing, but Grief said it’s hard to predict how excitement about the record jackpot will boost sales. “It’s exponentially greater than any sales that any of the states involved have ever seen,” he said.
Not that there aren’t large jackpots elsewhere. Spain’s massively popular Christmas lottery, known as “El Gordo,” is ranked as the world’s richest, though it doles out a single jackpot among millions of prizes, instead of one large jackpot like the Powerball. El Gordo last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country.
As for the U.S., here’s a look at the 10 previous highest jackpots and where the winners were from:
1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
2. $636 million, Mega Millions Dec 17, 2013, (two tickets, from California and Georgia)
3. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one ticket from Florida)
4. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (two tickets from Arizona and Missouri)
5. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb 11, 2015 – (three tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)
6. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug 7, 2013, (three tickets, one from Minnesota and two from New Jersey)
7. $425.3 million, Powerball, Feb 19, 2014 – (one ticket from California)
8. $414 million, Mega Millions, March 18, 2014, (two tickets from Florida and Maryland)
9. $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept 18, 2013, (one ticket from South Carolina)
10. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (two tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.