The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 16, 2013

No Powerball winner; jackpot soars to $475 million

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — So you didn't win Wednesday's $360 million Powerball jackpot? Make that you and everyone else.

A message early Thursday on the multistate lottery's website said the jackpot has soared to $475 million after none of the ticket sold matched all the winning numbers in Wednesday night's drawing: 2, 11, 26, 34, 41 and a Powerball of 32.

The next drawing will be held Saturday.

A jackpot of $475 million ranks as the second largest in Powerball history and third biggest overall.

Lottery officials expect jackpot totals of this size to continue to climb in shorter amounts of time, thanks in part to a game redesign in January 2012 that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize, but also lowered the possible number combinations to win the Powerball.

There's also "cross-selling" of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets — states being able to sell both Powerball tickets and Mega Millions tickets — that began in January 2010. As a result, large jackpots will continue to surpass all-time jackpot records set years ago, said Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery. Iowa is one of the founding Powerball states.

"It usually took a handful of months, if not several months, for a jackpot to reach this large amount," she said. "Now it's achieving that within a handful of weeks. I think the redesign is achieving exactly what we had wanted it to achieve, which is the bigger, faster-growing jackpot."

The redesign means players don't necessarily have to strike big to get lucky. A $1 increase and new $1 million and $2 million prizes means the odds of winning something have increased. Just last Saturday, there was no Powerball jackpot winner, but more than a dozen tickets won $1 million prizes in 10 states.

In fact, more than half of the all-time jackpot records have been reached in the last three years. The top two all-time jackpots — $656 million from a Mega Millions jackpot and $587.5 million from a Powerball jackpot — were achieved in 2012.

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