Americans wish for luck in $700-million Powerball lottery jackpot

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(Reuters) – The odds against wining are astronomical, but millions of Americans will be hoping for some life-altering luck on Wednesday night when winning numbers are drawn for the second-highest jackpot in the history of the Powerball lottery.

A winning ticket could bring the holder an estimated $700 million windfall, a prize topped only by a January 2016 $1.56 billion Powerball jackpot, the world’s largest lottery reward ever.

This past weekend, there were no winning tickets for a prize that was then $535 million, even though 113.6 million Powerball chances were sold.

Anna Domoto, spokeswoman for the Multi-State Lottery Association, said that even more tickets are expected to be sold in the four-day period leading up to Wednesday night’s drawing.

A screen displays the value of the Powerball jackpot at a store in New York City, U.S., August 22, 2017.Brendan McDermid

The drawing is set for 10:59 p.m. ET (0259 GMT Thursday) in Tallahassee, Florida, when five of 69 white balls and one of 26 red balls – the Powerball – will be randomly selected to form the six numbers a single ticket must have to take the jackpot.

The estimated jackpot is $700 million only if the winner agrees to get 30 payments over 29 years. If a one-time payout is chosen, the jackpot is an estimated $443.4 million.

New York Lottery Powerball tickets are displayed in a store in New York City, U.S., August 22, 2017.Brendan McDermid

The odds of a ticket having all six winning numbers do not change no matter how big the jackpot is. They are 292.2 million-to-1, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Powerball tickets are sold in 44 U.S. states, and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

No one has won the Powerball’s top prize in the twice-a-week drawings since June 10, when a California man won a jackpot valued at $447.8 million.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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