If you bought some Powerball tickets in a St. Patrick’s Day haze on Saturday, check your pockets.
A single ticket sold in Pennsylvania matched the drawing for an estimated $456.7 million, the Multi-State Lottery Association said. The winning numbers were 22-57-59-60-66, and the Powerball 7.
There were other tickets that scored big payouts too. A ticket sold in Texas won $2 million after a player or players opted to chip in an extra dollar. Two tickets sold in California and Missouri matched the numbers for a $1 million payout.
The jackpot was the eighth largest in the game’s history, the lottery association said, growing after 19 rolls since a woman in New Hampshire claimed a $560 million jackpot in a Jan. 10 drawing. She fought and won a legal battle to remain anonymous, a judge ruled March 12.
If the winner or winners in Pennsylvania wants to keep their identity secret, they would likely face a similar legal hurdle. The Pennsylvania Lottery requires winners to be named to ensure the system operates with “integrity and transparency.”
But past winners have argued the raised profile makes them targets.
Judge Charles Temple, who ruled in favor of the New Hampshire woman, concluded that revealing her name would be an invasion of privacy, in part because lottery winners in general are subject to “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence,” he wrote.
He cited how a past lottery winner received a bomb threat, how another had received nonstop phone calls and how several others had received requests from strangers who wanted handouts.
Less than three years ago, an individual’s chances of becoming an instant millionaire were 1 in roughly 175 million after starting with a $2 ticket. Now, the odds are 1 in roughly 292 million.
Tweaks to the game in October 2015 increased the number of total balls, from 59 to 69, from which players need to pick five. It may seem like a modest change, but the odds of winning the jackpot plummeted even though the number of Powerball numbers declined from 35 to 26.
The effect of decreasing the number of Powerballs was a rise in winners that just match that number, with a payout of $4. Even matching two numbers and the Powerball will net you just $7.
So now it’s even harder to strike it rich with Powerball, leading to fewer chances of big payouts, which in turn results in ballooning jackpots. When a drawing is held and there’s no winning ticket, the prize pool rolls over — and expands, drawing even more players.
In turn, the jackpots become bigger and bigger, making winnings of half a billion dollars — like this one — almost feel routine.
But that won’t stop the next round of jackpot chasers. The winning sum has reset to $40 million, with the next drawing Wednesday night.
As for the other big jackpot game, Mega Millions, no winning tickets were sold on Friday. The next drawing is Tuesday for an estimated $377 million.