Powerball jackpot among biggest ever

Posted: August 16, 2012

Strong sales not only boosted the current Powerball jackpot to $320 million Tuesday, they pushed it into record-setting territory.

The $213.3 million cash jackpot for tonight's drawing is Powerball's biggest ever, eclipsing the $210 million collected by a Rhode Island woman in February.

The $320 million is Powerball's fourth biggest annuity prize ever, and if brisk sales continue, it's possible the jackpot could up the list today.

The Powerball record is $365 million, won in February 2006 by eight Nebraska food-plant workers.

If Powerball rolls over tonight, kiss that record good-bye.

As for all-time records, though, they all belong to Mega Millions, which skyrocketed in March to $656 million, $471 million cash.

Here are the dozen largest annuity jackpots of all-time in the United States. They're all from three multistate games: Powerball, Mega Millions, and its precursor, the Big Game.

The first ranking number is for the annuity, payable over 25 years for Mega Millions, 30 years for Powerball.

1. $656 million, Mega Millions, won March 30, 2012, by three tickets, sold in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas. Cash: $471 million (No. 1 for cash all-time).

2. $390 million, Mega Millions, won March 6, 2007, by 2 tickets, in Georgia and New Jersey. Cash payout: $233.1 million (No. 3 cash all-time).

3. $380 million, Mega Millions, won Jan. 4, 2011, drawing, in Idaho and Washington State. Cash payout: $240 million (2).

4. $365 million, Powerball, won Feb. 18, 2006, in Nebraska. Cash: $177.3 million (11). Record annuity for Powerball, record annuity with a single winner for any U.S. lottery.

5. $363 million, Big Game, won May 9, 2000, by 2 tickets, in Illinois and Michigan. Cash: $180 million (10).

6. $340 million, Powerball, won Oct. 19, 2005, in Oregon. $164.4 million cash (18).

7. $336.4 million, Powerball, for Feb. 11, 2012, drawing. Cash: $210 million (6).

8. $336 million, Mega Millions, won Aug. 28, 2009, by two tickets, in New York and California. Cash: $214 million (4).

9. $331 million, Big Game, won April 16, 2002, by three tickets, in Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey (12).

10. $330 million, Mega Millions, won Aug. 31, 2007, by four tickets, in New Jersey, Maryland, Texas and Virginia. Cash: $194.4. million (8).

11. $320 million, Powerball, for Aug. 15, 2012, drawing. Cash: $212.3 million (5). Most cash ever for Powerball.

12. $319 million, Mega Millions, won March 25, 2011, in New York. Cash: $202.8 million (7). Biggest Mega Millions annuity won by a single ticket.

For more on lotteries, go to www.philly.com/philly/news/lottery, www.powerball.com or www.megamillions.com.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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