Powerball players have a 1-in-175 million chance of winning the fifth largest lottery jackpot in history – a whopping $400 million – in the drawing Wednesday night.
Massive lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years, perhaps a result of players waiting to buy a ticket when the jackpot is smaller. So far this year, a New Jersey resident netted a $338 million Powerball jackpot in March, a Florida woman won a $590 million Powerball jackpot in May, and three people in Minnesota and New Jersey split a $448 million Powerball jackpot in August.
"They're not as excited at the $200 to $300 million level – which is crazy," said Carole Everett, a Maryland Lottery spokeswoman. "Now, $400 million doesn't quite sound like as much. But it'll absolutely change your life."
This is the fourth time this year the Powerball jackpot has passed the $300 million mark. The largest jackpot in U.S. history stands at $656 million, won in the Mega Millions lottery of March 2012. That prize was split among winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.
Everett said if someone wins the Powerball jackpot tonight and chooses the cash option, they will net about $148 million after taxes. If the sole winner is a Marylander, she said, the state will reap $19 million in tax revenue.
Players who match all five white balls, but not the red Powerball, win $1 million. Everett said those odds are much better – about a 1-in-5 million chance.
Maryland is one of 43 states, along with Washington and the Virgin Islands, that participate in the lottery.
The drawing will be held at around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
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