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Powerball Jackpot of $222M Has Lottery Players in Ticket-Buying Frenzy

By Megan Anderle   |   Wednesday, 08 May 2013 11:31 AM

Across the U.S., people are in a lottery ticket-buying frenzy. The Powerball jackpot is up to $222 million for Wednesday night's drawing after no one matched all six numbers in Saturday’s drawing.

The Powerball winner could take home a $144.5 million jackpot cash prize.

Tuesday night, officials drew the lottery numbers for the Mega Millions, which was a $139 million annuity or one-time cash option of $104.8 million. It's still too early to know if there is a winner for Mega Millions. The next Mega Millions drawing is Friday for $154 million.

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The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 out of 175 million, and jackpots start at $40 million, according to Lottery USA.

Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states and Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 42 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot in lottery history was drawn March 30, 2012. The pot was $656 million, with a cash option of $474 million. Three Mega Millions lottery winners – from Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland – split the winnings.

This past March, a New Jersey man won $338 million off Powerball. The small business owner put his bodega up for sale shortly after winning, claiming excessive media attention made it difficult for him to live his life.

Reuters reported that about half of all lottery money goes back to ticket holders in the form of winnings, 35 percent to state governments, and 15 percent to retailer commissions and lottery operating expenses.

The U.S Internal Revenue Service makes a killing on the jackpots, imposing a 25 percent federal withholding tax on sums of more than $5,000.

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