Want to take a chance on winning the big money? You might need to get in line.
The jackpot for Wednesday’s Powerball drawing will be $700 million, with a cash option of $443.3 million, if you want your money all at once.
It’s the second-largest jackpot in the game’s history and the second-largest lottery prize ever in North America, topped only by last year’s $1.6 billion, according to the Kentucky Lottery Corp.
In Kentucky, weekly lottery sales are usually budgeted around $1.3 million, said Chip Polston, Kentucky Lottery spokesman. This week, sales climbed to $5.8 million, with $4 million in tickets sold on Wednesday alone.
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Your odds of winning the big jackpot? They’re 292,202,338 to 1 for each $2 ticket you buy, according to the Kentucky Lottery website.
You don’t have to pick all five numbers and the Red Powerball to walk away with money, though. If you can match five but not the Powerball, you get $1 million (or $2 million if you pay an extra dollar when you buy your ticket.) And your odds are much better, only 11,688,054 to 1.
Match four numbers and the Powerball and you can get $10,000, according to lottery officials.
You can check your numbers to see if you won at kylottery.com; you can also buy tickets for the lottery there, too.
If nobody wins the drawing at 11 p.m., the jackpot will roll over again, Polston said. The amount will be announced tonight, he said. It’s based on the amount of tickets sold.
And it can get frenzied: last year, on the day of the $1.6 billion drawing, Polston said that during peak hours of 5 to 7 p.m., tickets were selling at a rate of $1 million an hour.
It’s also big news for the state’s general fund too, because the big jackpots jack up the amount the state collects. Last year’s world-record jackpot generated an estimated $9 million in extra money for the state .
So far on this Powerball run, which started June 10 when there was no winner, Kentucky Lottery Corp. projects sales of about $20 million, with about $8 million going into college scholarships, said Tom Delacenserie, president and CEO.
According to the Kentucky Lottery Corp., 40 cents of every dollar in Powerball sales goes back to the Commonwealth to finance college scholarship and grant programs.
The Kentucky Lottery Corp. has projected $70 million in sales for Powerball this fiscal year, working out to about $1.34 million a week. Last week’s sales were 3 1/2 times above that, according to Kentucky Lottery Corp.
But sales usually drop after somebody hits the big win and the jackpot goes back down to a mere $40 million, so the weekly sales could dip below $1.34 million, too.
“It’s interesting dynamics,” Delacenserie said. “Most people don’t play when it’s $40 million; you’d think that would certainly be enough money. But when it gets this high, people enjoy the entertainment value of thinking about what they’d do with the $700 million.”
That’s what drew Michael Cook of Lexington into the Dairy Mart on East Reynolds Road to buy three tickets on Wednesday. The store was doing brisk business in lottery sales during the mid-day rush.
Cook, who is a machine operator at Trane, said he doesn’t dream so much of the huge mansion or fancy car.
“You have to pay luxury tax on those. Most people don’t think about that,” he said. “I’d set up trust funds for my kids, who are grown, and do a little traveling ... That’s just a lot of money.”