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What you should know about the record-breaking Powerball jackpot

Someone is going to get really lucky in 2016!

Wednesday’s $500 million-plus Powerball jackpot stayed in tact, so another chance to win the nearly nationwide prize will be this Saturday. At least $675 million, an all-time record in the U.S., is expected to be handed out to someone should the numbers align.

Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico. Is Powerball played near you? Want to know more?

Check out some more details about Powerball below:

How did the Jackpot get so big? 

The jackpot started at $40 million on Nov. 4 and has continued to grow ever since. Since the payout is based on sales, the prize has grown faster. As the jackpot has increased, more people have wanted to play. And the Multi-State Lottery Association doesn’t see that changing. Officials say that people will likely rush to buy tickets now, and that Saturday’s jackpot will reach $675 million. It’s even possible that number could be raised before the drawing, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

What are your odds of winning? 

Well, not so good. The Multi-State Lottery Association said the odds of having that winning Powerball ticket are 1 in 292.2 million. Just to put that into perspective, your chance of being struck by lightning in a year is one in 960,000. So you might as well kiss the $2 you paid for your ticket goodbye. Nevertheless, you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket!

Which states DO NOT participate in Powerball? 

As previously stated, 44 states (plus D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) participate in Powerball, but Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Hawaii and Alaska DO NOT.

Do you have to live in one of the states that participate in order to win? 

Here’s the good news. No, you don’t. You could be from anywhere in the world and still win the prize. The Multi-State Lottery Association says that sometimes there is talk of limiting the winners to only U.S. citizens, but not one law has been passed so far.

Which is the best method of picking your numbers? Random-number computer drawing or “magic numbers”?

Roughly 75 percent of tickets are computer picks, according to the Multi-States Lottery Association, and about 75 percent of winners come from computer picks. So, no. Picking “magic numbers” probably won’t do you any good in this scenario.

What are your payment options? 

The prize would have a cash option of $413.1 million before taxes. But the $675 million prize is based on an annuity, so the money would be paid out over a period of 29 years.

How much money are you really looking at after taxes? 

Well, that obviously depends on which state you live in. The federal government will get its share in any case, and it automatically takes 25% before your tax return is filed. So, you will be taxed as much as you can be taxed. If you live in a state without income taxes, you’re in luck. There wouldn’t be anything left to pay. For anyone else, it just depends on local income tax.

What happens if there’s not a winner on Saturday? 

If no one wins Saturday, the world will be looking at an even higher Powerball jackpot number. There are drawings at special events around the nation on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so we will just have to try again on Wednesday!

Here’s the thing: lottery tickets suck you in because the thought of winning money for no reason is very appealing; however, you end up spending money to win money. And I always end up with less than I started with.

So good luck to everyone playing in this year’s Powerball. May your luck (and self control) be better than mine!

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com. Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com