ORLANDO, Fla. - What better way to begin the new year than by winning the Powerball jackpot? The top lottery prize soared to an estimated $500 million for the Jan. 1 drawing after no ticket matched all six numbers in the final drawing of 2021.
The winner, who must match numbers on five white balls (1-69) and the red Powerball (1-26), also has the option to claim a one-time lump sum payment of an estimated $355.9 million before taxes.
The next drawing will be held at 10:59 p.m. ET on the first day of 2022.
"Ticket sales have been strong through the holidays, and we anticipate the majority of ticket purchases for the next drawing will happen on New Year’s Day," May Scheve Reardon, Powerball product group chair and Missouri Lottery’s executive director, said in a statement.
The Powerball jackpot grows until a winning ticket is sold. Winners can choose to receive their prize as an annuity, paid in 30 payments over 29 years, or take the lump sum payment. Federal and jurisdictional taxes are applicable to either payout.
FILE - Powerball tickets at The Hub on Broadway on March 22, 2019, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
The winning numbers for Wednesday night’s drawing were 02, 06, 09, 33, 39 and the Powerball 11. The Power Play was 2X.
While no one won the grand prize, one person in Georgia matched five balls — which is a $1 million prize, according to lottery officials. There were also two winning Double Play tickets worth $500,000 each that were sold in Michigan and Puerto Rico.
Powerball drawings are held on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday in 45 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The year 2021 brought six Powerball jackpot tickets with winners claiming a combined total of more than $2 billion, officials said. Three winners got lucky in January, followed by March, June and October.
The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are just 1 in 292.2 million. To put that into perspective, those odds are a little worse than flipping a coin and getting heads 28 straight times, University of Nebraska-Omaha mathematics professor Andrew Swift previously told the Associated Press.
For those feeling lucky and wanting to spend $2 for a ticket, the overall odds of winning any prize is a little better at 1 in 24.9.
The current estimated prize is far from the U.S. jackpot record, which was a whopping $1.586 billion Powerball prize in 2016. Three winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.
There have been several lottery winners whose stories made news headlines, including a couple in England who won just days before their teenage son was declared cancer-free. But for those who do get lucky, make sure to double-check the winnings before making any drastic moves.
A Spanish television reporter in 2019 appeared to quit her job live on air after getting a winning lottery ticket but later discovered her payout was only about $5,500.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.