Powerball jackpot reaches $615 million; winner's post-tax earnings revealed

The Powerball jackpot continues to grow, reaching an estimated $615 million for its upcoming drawing on Saturday. This makes it the 10th-largest jackpot in Powerball's history. The last time the jackpot was won was in April, and since then, it has steadily increased. The winner of the jackpot can choose to receive the money in 30 installments over 29 years or as a lump sum of $310.6 million. However, there would be a mandatory 24% federal tax withholding, reducing the jackpot to $236 million. Depending on the winner's taxable income, a federal marginal rate as high as 37% could lower the amount to as low as $195.6 million.

Saturday's jackpot is the largest since February, when a $754.6 million jackpot was won in Washington. In the recent drawing on Wednesday, there were three tickets that won $1 million prizes, along with 17 tickets winning $50,000 and five tickets winning $100,000. A total of 864,000 winning tickets were sold for that drawing, amounting to a combined total of $9 million in winnings.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever won was in November, when a California man claimed a prize of $2.04 billion. The most recent jackpot winner prior to that was in April, with a ticket sold in Ohio winning $252.6 million.

Over the past two years, six of the 10 largest Powerball jackpots, including the upcoming one, have occurred. This increase in large jackpots can be attributed to changes made by the lottery. In 2015, the pool of white ball numbers available was increased from 59 to 69, while the pool of Powerball numbers was decreased from 35 to 26. This change decreased the odds of winning from one in about 175.2 million to one in 292.2 million. The Mega Millions lottery also made similar changes, increasing the odds of winning its jackpot from one in 258.9 million to one in 302.6 million. Since then, four Mega Millions jackpots have surpassed the $1 billion mark.


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