Powerball jackpot hits $284M; well below record

Powerball jackpot hits $284 million; well below Mega Millions prize reached in December

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Powerball jackpot is climbing again, though it will take some time before it breaks the kind of records that are seemingly smashed with more frequency.

The jackpot is an estimated $284 million after no winning ticket was selected during Saturday's drawing, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa. The top prize could grow before the next drawing Wednesday.

"We get as excited as anybody else. It's all so random," said Terry Rich, CEO of the Iowa Lottery. "We don't know when it is going to run. Sometimes we'll get a short dry spell. But it looks like it's coming back in."

The latest jackpot, which began at the end of 2013, is well below the kind of prize money that catches a casual player's attention these days. Mega Millions had a jackpot that climbed to $636 million in December, making it the second-largest in U.S. lottery history.

Changes to top lottery games have created bigger jackpots in shorter periods of time. More than half of the top 10 prizes in U.S. lottery history have occurred since 2012, according to statistics provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Powerball's game changes in January 2012 included an increase in ticket price from $1 to $2. Starting jackpots went from $20 million to $40 million, and pots increased by more money with each roll. Mega Millions went through a revamp that included decreasing the odds of winning the top prize to 1 in about 259 million.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of matching all six numbers in the game are 1 in about 175 million.

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