No winner of record US$900 million Powerball jackpot

Hundreds of people n line to purchase tickets for the Powerball lottery at a store in California before Saturday's draw.
GENE BLEVINS / Reuters

Hundreds of people n line to purchase tickets for the Powerball lottery at a store in California before Saturday's draw.

Lottery officials said there was no winner of Saturday's record US$900 million (NZ$1.37 billion) jackpot in the multi-state Powerball lottery.

Millions of Americans anxiously checked their tickets for the winning combination of six numbers - 32, 16, 19, 57, 34 with a Powerball number of 13.

"No Powerball jackpot winner," the Texas Lottery announced on Twitter hours after the numbers were drawn. The next drawing, expected to establish another record payout of a reported US$1.3 billion (NZ$1.99 billion), was slated for Wednesday (local time).

The grand prize for Powerball, played in 44 states, Washington, and two US territories, has climbed steadily for weeks after repeated drawings produced no big winners. This week ticket purchases surged along with the size of the pot.

READ MORE: Powerball jackpot fuelling American fantasies

The prize, which rises with every drawing in which the winning series of six numbers is not won, ranked as the largest jackpot for any lottery in North American history. With almost unimaginable riches at stake, many Americans who normally shun lotteries joined the long lines of people buying tickets at retail stores across the country.

Dony Elias, 26, an attendant at Stardust Liquor in Los Angeles, said 300 customers picked up tickets for Powerball last night at his store. Elias admitted to buying a ticket for himself, something he said he had never done before.

And like many other players, he has already given some thought to what he would do with the cash.

"I would take a trip to the moon," he said.

California normally sees Powerball sales of US$1 million (NZ$1.53 million) a day, but on Saturday morning sales were US$2.8 million (NZ$4.28 million) an hour, said California Lottery spokesman Mike Bond.

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Excitement swirled among ticket buyers despite what some statisticians call mind-boggling odds for the Powerball game - one in 292 million.

Jeffrey Miecznikowski, associate professor of biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, said in an email an American is roughly 25 times more likely to become the next president of the United States than to win at Powerball.

Or to put it another way, the odds are equivalent to flipping a coin 28 times and getting heads every time, he said.

"It doesn't sound so bad ... but you would be at it for an eternity," Miecznikowski said.

 - Reuters

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