Powerball Jackpot To Hit Estimated $1.3B -- A World Record

Monday, January 11th 2016, 9:11 am
By: News 9

Twenty-five lucky people walked away with a nice consolation prize of $1 million Saturday, but the big Powerball payout is still up for grabs.

At an estimated $1.3 billion for Wednesday's drawing, the jackpot would be the largest ever anywhere on Earth -- and hard to resist, even for those who rarely play, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

"I don't normally buy lottery tickets, but I hear it might be lucky, so I'm crossing my fingers," said one lottery player.

The game seemed to defy its own odds Saturday night when it failed to produce a winner, even though 75 percent of the nearly 300 million possible number combinations were sold.

Doug Evans decided to try his luck more than once this time, buying 20 tickets for himself. But with the odds at 292 million to one, the chances of winning don't necessarily increase the more you play.

"You may see yourself as getting closer to the pot (but) you actually are not," said CBS News financial contributor Mellody Hobson. "And the more frenzy that there is, the more tickets that are sold the longer the odds become, which works against the hard working Americans that are buying those tickets."

In 2014 alone, Americans spent more than $70 billion on lottery tickets.

Critics maintain that those who play the most often are the ones who can least afford it.

"When you see numbers like a billion dollars or now a billion three, you can understand people's enthusiasm and desire and hope that they can be the one, absolutely," Hobson said. "But at the end of the day, it is real money and it adds up."

If a winner is drawn, he or she could opt for an $806 million payout before federal or state taxes.

Lottery officials say they encourage people to have fun and play responsibly, and they remind everyone that in the end, it only takes one ticket to win.