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Friday fantasy: US Powerball jackpot boosted to $1.6bn – the largest lottery prize in history

Strong sales have boosted a Powerball jackpot to an estimated $1.6bn (£1.3bn) – making it the largest lottery prize in history.

A drawing will be held tomorrow night for the prize which hasn’t been won in more than three months.

That string of 39 consecutive drawings without a winner is a reflection of the tough odds of winning a jackpot – at one in 292.2 million.

It is because of those long odds that the grand prize has grown so large.

The new jackpot tops the previous record prize of $1.586bn (£1.398bn) won in 2016 by three Powerball players in California, Florida and Tennessee.

In terms of what this amount of money actually looks like, according to Powerball if you stacked $1.5bn in $100 bills, it would reach a height of nearly 5,375ft – or over a mile.

If you won $1.6bn you could comfortably buy Windsor Castle.

Image: Windsor Castle (it’s not for sale)

The Castle’s current estimated market value is around £497.5m ($561.9m) according to the estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.

The total cost of construction for the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai at 2,717ft was $1.5bn.

The jackpot is played in 45 US states, as well as Washington DC., Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Read more:
US Powerball jackpot surpasses $1bn ahead of Halloween night draw

But there are five states: Utah, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska and Alabama which do not have a lottery. A mix of reasons has kept them away, including objections from conservatives, concerns about the impact on low-income families or a desire not to compete with existing gaming operations.

Image: Pic: Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

The advertised jackpot is the prize for a winner who chooses an annuity, paid annually over 29 years.

Almost all winners instead opt for the cash prize, which for Saturday night’s drawing would be an estimated $782.4m (£689.4m).

Winners of giant jackpots nearly always take the cash, and financial advisers say that might be a mistake.

Back in the UK, tonight’s EuroMillions draw is worth £139m. Sounds piffling in comparison to the Powerball… but you still wouldn’t sniff at it, would you?

The winning numbers, in case you need to know, are 02, 11, 37, 45, 47. And the Lucky Stars are 02 and 03.

And the Thunderball winning numbers are 10, 30, 32, 37, 38, with the Thunderball as 06.