D-Day: Drawing For $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot

Wednesday, January 13th 2016, 9:21 am
By: News 9

The day of the winning Powerball numbers drawing has finally arrived, with a record-setting jackpot that has grown to $1.5 billion.

A single winner could take home a cash payout of $930 million.

The drawing will take place in Tallahassee, Florida, where the machines that will choose the winning combination will remain locked away in a vault until an hour before the drawing, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud.

For more than two months, we've watched the Powerball jackpot soar, shattering records and exploding into a nationwide frenzy.

Employees at a New Jersey restaurant erupted Saturday night, thinking they had hit the jackpot.

"So everybody happy, jumping up and down," said Jimmy Torba, a server at Grissini Restaurant.

But it turns out they were looking at numbers from a previous drawing.

"I'm sure I would have lost all the employees," said the restaurant's owner, Anthony Delgatto. "I mean the dishwashers were very happy they didn't have to wash dishes anymore."

Lottery officials reported that nearly 370,000 tickets were being sold per minute at one point Tuesday night. By Wednesday evening's drawing, they expect 85 percent of the possible numbers combinations will have been purchased. Still, that leaves a 15 percent chance there could be no winner at all.

Some are counting on the power of the people to try and increase their chances of winning, like Billy Jo Karger, who is running a lottery pool with her neighbors near Dallas, Texas - some of whom she's never met.

"I need 685 quick picks cash option," Karger told a store clerk. The clerk asked if she was being serious.

"Our little town's going to be desolate because we're all moving!" Karger said, laughing.

But the odds that she will actually hit the jackpot are nearly 300 million to one.

"We just don't see 292 million of anything so it's very difficult to visualize just how big, big numbers really are," said Ron Wassertein, executive director of the American Statistical Association. "The increase chance of winning by buying multiple tickets still leaves you with such a small chance of winning that it isn't worth the extra money."

Because of the high-volume ticket sales, lottery officials say it will take several hours after the drawing to sort through the numbers and determine if there's a winner or winners.

If there isn't, the next drawing will take place on Saturday, with a jackpot that could be worth close to $2 billion.