DES MOINES, Iowa — Lottery officials say nobody has won the Powerball jackpot and the top prize will now increase to about $425 million for the next drawing, the largest jackpot ever for the game.
Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said sales were strong over the holiday week for Saturday's drawing, which was estimated at $325 million before the numbers were picked. That was the fourth-largest jackpot in the game's history.
Neubauer says the jackpot for Wednesday's drawing could go even higher than the estimated $425 million because sales pick up in the days before record drawings.
Chuck Strutt, executive director of Multi-State Lottery Association, predicts there's about a 60 percent chance it'll happen Wednesday — maybe better if there's a flurry of last-minute ticket purchasers picking unique numbers.
The jackpot already has defied long odds by rolling over 16 consecutive times without anyone hitting the big prize, which now stands at $425 million ($278.3 million cash value). Strutt puts the odds at around 5 percent there would be no winner in the entire run, including Wednesday.
As the drought increases, so too will the chances of it ending on the next draw, because ticket sales spike with a growing jackpot.
Tim Norfolk, a University of Akron mathematics professor who teaches a course on gambling, puts the odds of a lightning strike in a person's lifetime at 1 in 5,000. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175 million.
While weather is the go-to analogy for such astronomical odds, Norfolk suggests there are better ones.
For example, you'd have a slightly better chance of randomly picking the name of one specific female in the United States: 1 in 157 million, according to the latest census.
The previous top Powerball prize was $365 million, won in 2006 by ConAgra Foods Workers in Lincoln, Neb.
The Powerball numbers for Saturday were 22-32-37-44-50, and the Powerball was 34.
On the Web: www.powerball.com