DES MOINES, Iowa — Players will have a chance Wednesday night at an estimated $500 million Powerball jackpot, making it the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year.
The jackpot will be the largest since a Powerball prize that climbed to $564.1 million last February before it was won by players from North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico. Powerball is played 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Here are more details about the big lottery payoff:
HOW DOES THE JACKPOT RANK?
The jackpot would be the sixth-largest ever in North America. It's been growing since the last Powerball jackpot winner on Nov. 4 and will keep climbing if no one wins the big prize on Wednesday. If there isn't a jackpot winner, the prize for Saturday's drawing would be significantly larger, but it would still take some time to grow beyond the record. That was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot won in March 2012. The largest Powerball prize was a $590.5 million jackpot won by a Florida woman in May 2013.
The prize would have a cash option of $306 million, and that's before taxes are deducted. The $500 million prize is based on an annuity, which would pay out the money over 29 years.
THE ODDS? NOT GOOD.
The odds are one in 292.2 million, which means you're really, really, really unlikely to win. For some comparison, your chance of being struck by lightning in a year is about one in 960,000. But as lottery officials often note, you have no chance of winning if you don't buy a ticket.