DES MOINES, Iowa - It’s a jackpot so big the numbers can’t even fit on billboards.
Officials said Tuesday that $1.5 billion is now up for grabs after no one was lucky enough to pick the winning numbers in the $989,900 million Powerball jackpot Saturday night.
Channel 9 learned there was a winner out there though Saturday, and that person bought his or her ticket at a Food Lion on Monroe Road in Charlotte.
North Carolina Lottery officials told Channel 9 someone who bought a ticket at the Food Lion won $159,000 after matching four of the five white balls and the red Powerball.
Store managers told Channel 9 they’ve heard rumors of someone winning at their store, but they haven’t received an official announcement yet.
Customers said they were pretty excited, even though they didn’t win.
“I may think about getting one because if one’s already won here, there’s gonna be one at another lucky place somewhere else,” said a customer.
Officials said that Wednesday's Powerball jackpot will be the world's largest -- a $1.5 billion annuity, or $930 million in cash.
The jackpot could grow even larger Wednesday.
“It’s exciting to be part of a world record event and we will be on the edge of our seats tonight waiting to see if the jackpot is won,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “We already have one big winner and that is education in North Carolina. If you would like to try your chance, remember it only takes one ticket to win.’
About 76 cents of every $2 Powerball ticket will go to earnings for education this year. The lottery’s goal is to raise $529 million this year and sales from Powerball mean that goal should be achieved. Any surplus will go to the state for legislators to allocate to education programs.
Some Powerball numbers for the big day:
- 300 million. That’s how many Americans can play Powerball in their home states.
- 47. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
- 28. In Saturday’s drawing, three tickets won $2 million and 25 tickets won $1 million.
- 18.3 million. That’s how many prizes were won Saturday night, totaling $159 million.
- $372 million. That’s the amount of money raised for good causes from sales for Saturday’s drawing.
- 30. The $1.5 billion annuity will be paid over 29 years. First payment, $22.6 million, 30th payment, $92.9 million.
If there is no winner Wednesday, the jackpot could jump to $2 billion.
A $2 billion jackpot would be more than most could imagine, but a lot of people are thinking about what they need to do to protect that money if they win. In North Carolina, people will know if you're the winner -- you can't remain anonymous.
A bill was shot down last year that would have changed that. But in South Carolina you can stay anonymous. It's one of six states in the country that allows that.
Including the jackpot, there are nine ways to win a prize playing Powerball. In fiscal year 2015, nine times North Carolina players matched all five white balls to win $1 million to $2 million. Another 82 times, players in the state matched four white balls and the red Powerball to win $10,000 to $50,000.
Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Although the chances of winning are slim, a Cleveland Clinic psychologist said your brain isn't worried about the odds.
"We understand the chances aren't that good, but we can delude ourselves, and (say), 'Hey, I’ve got as good a chance as anybody,'" Joseph Rock said.
According to Rock, hormones are released whenever we fantasize that can improve your mood.
Ticket sales for games such as Powerball will help the lottery for a third straight year raise more than half a billion dollars for education. One $2 Powerball ticket raises about 76 cents for education, officials said.
For details on how lottery funds make a difference in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, visit the “Where the Money Goes” page on the lottery’s website.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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