Washington (AFP) – The jackpot for the US Powerball lottery rose to a whopping $1.3 billion (1.19 billion euros) on Sunday after organizers said there was no winner in the weekend draw.
The Powerball prize rocketed to $950 million on Saturday, fueling a frenzy of lotto ticket buying across the United States.
Numbers were drawn and announced late Saturday at 10:59 pm (0359 GMT Sunday) — but hours later lottery officials said there was no winner.
“There was NO JACKPOT WINNER in tonight’s #Powerball. We are OFFICIALLY #InSearchofaBILLIONAIRE ($1.3 BILLION)!” the lottery of the District of Columbia, where the US capital is located, wrote on Twitter around 0700 GMT Sunday.
According to the rules, the winner can choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual instalments over 29 years or take a lower one-off payment in cash.
The cash for the new jackpot would amount to $806 million before taxes, according to the official Powerball site.
Drawings for the Powerball jackpot began on November 7, and despite a new series of numbers announced every Wednesday and Saturday since, no winner has been declared.
Americans with dreams of life-changing riches have been flocking for days to buy lottery tickets and a chance at winning a tsunami of cash.
Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands.
— Next chance: Wednesday —
In the Powerball game, five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls. One red one is pulled from a drum with 26 balls.
The late Saturday winning numbers were 32-16-19-57-34 and the Powerball was 13, organizers said.
To win, all six numbers on the lottery ticket must be correct, with the first five in any order. The final number, however, must be the Powerball number.
The current prize shatters the previous record for a US lottery jackpot of $656 million, scooped by three winning tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas in March 2012.
Gloria Mackenzie, 84, from Florida holds the record for the largest single Powerball jackpot win, $590.5 million, on May 18, 2013.
The next drawing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13, organizers said.
Powerball starts its jackpot at $40 million and lets it grow if there are no winners.
In the United States, small-prize scratch lottery cards are popular, while two prizes — Mega Millions and Powerball — offer eye-popping payouts.
Both games are organized by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a non-profit group owned by lotteries from 34 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Individual lotteries keep the profits and use them for projects approved by local legislatures, usually to include some money going to education.
The world’s richest lottery is Spain’s annual Christmas “El Gordo,” which in 2015 handed out 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) but which capped individual wins at 400,000 euros and handed out thousands of smaller prizes.