Thursday February 13 2014 – The Powerball jackpot for Saturday’s draw stands at an impressive $330 million after the top prize once again eluded players in last night’s draw.
The jackpot, which has a cash value of $189 million, is the result of the previous 14 draws failing to produce a top prize winner. Despite this, over the past 14 draws a total of 54 players have narrowly missed out on winning the jackpot by just one number. The 54 ticket holders managed to match all five main numbers but missed out on the Powerball number to win the second tier prize of $1 million* but, as six of the ticket holders had included the Power Play feature, their win increased to $2 million.
The largest jackpot won in Powerball’s history was worth a colossal $590.5 million and won by Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida in May 2013. Although the record jackpot may seem some distance away from the current $330 million jackpot, previous statistics show that it could be closer than first thought. When MacKenzie won the jackpot back in May, the jackpot in the previous draw had stood at $363 million and, with no top prize winners in the draw, the jackpot was estimated at $475 million for the following draw. However, the following week saw a surge in ticket sales which resulted in lottery officials increasing the estimated jackpot to $550 million, then again to $590.5 million.
Bearing this in mind, if there are no jackpot winners in Saturday’s draw, the top prize is very likely to surpass the $400 million mark. If history repeats itself and we see another surge in ticket sales, we could once see lottery officials regularly updating the jackpot amount and it is possible that it could come close to, or even exceed, the record $590.5 million jackpot won in May 2013.
With a $330 million jackpot at stake, convenience stores, gas stations and newsstands across the participating states and jurisdictions are likely to see a deluge of ticket requests for Saturday’s draw and some retailers will busier than others. Stores that have sold winning tickets of $1 million or more often see an increase in ticket sales when the jackpot is big due to superstitious players flocking to the ‘lucky store’ in the hope that they will sell another winning lottery ticket.
On average, California sells the highest number of Powerball tickets and out of the 21,000 lottery retailers across the state, the luckiest lottery outlet is Kavanagh Liquors. The liquor store, located in San Lorenzo, has sold a total of five winning lottery tickets of $1 million or more, one of which was worth $28 million but never claimed. The other top prize wins include $3.9 million in 1989, $12 million in 1998, $4 million jackpot in 2000 and $11 million in January 2012.
One of the many queues which can form at Kavanagh Liquors when the jackpot gets big.
Image source ABClocal.go.com
The Manager of the store, David Spahn, often opens early to accommodate customers when demand is high as it is common for players to queue for hours for the chance to purchase a ticket from this exceptionally lucky store.
However, the attention isn’t always on lucky retailers as a store clerk in New Mexico regularly has a queue of people waiting to buy tickets from her, wherever she’s working. Mary Torres, who is known as Million Dollar Mary, works for a chain of stores and travels all over the state depending on where she’s needed and has sold three winning lottery tickets worth a total of $2 million, but all in different stores. Speaking about the winning tickets, Torres said: “The first winning ticket was amazing, the second time was just unbelievable, while I’m still in a daze after the last one.”
Mary Torres of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has sold three winning lottery tickets in two years worth nearly $2 million. Image source KRQE.com
Torres is employed in Chevron stores across the state and Abul Azad, who owns the Chevron store off Highway 14 in Cedar Crest, said “When she’s here, we sell more lottery tickets, that’s true.” Such is her fame that lottery fans now make sure they know which store she’s working in before travelling to purchase their tickets.
We will have to wait and see if the Powerball jackpot will be won on Saturday but one thing is for certain, irrespective of where you purchase your ticket, the only way to be in with a chance of hitting that all-important jackpot is to buy a ticket!
*The winning Match 5 ticket holders from California have won a different prize due to prizes in the state being paid on a pari-mutuel basis.