Everyone likely to miss Powerball jackpot

Posted: March 23, 2013

You know the odds are crazy bad against any individual scoring Powerball's current jackpot of $320 million.

With a single ticket, the chances are an electron-microscopic 1 in 175 million.

But did you know odds are good that no one will win the top prize?

Yep, chances are we'll see another run at the game's all-time record, set Nov. 28, when lotto fever chased the Powerball jackpot up from $325 million to $587.5 million in just a few days.

In U.S. history, it was topped by only the March 30 Mega Million jackpot, which reached $656 million.

"I can tell you that we expect to reach about $125 million in sales," said Chuck Stutt, president of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees Powerball.

That translates to about 62.5 million tickets, since Powerball costs $2 to play.

With 175 million possible combinations of numbers, that means more than 100 million sets of possibilities won't be played.

Now allow for duplications, even by computer picks, and the odds of someone hitting isn't even one in three.

"You can say that there is a 30 percent chance of getting hit on Saturday," Stutt said.

That could mean another jackpot of $500 million or more - the third in a year - especially since Mega Millions' rival jackpot is a relatively puny $20 million.

And even that could roll over.

"Even if we sold 175 million plays, we would not have 100 percent coverage," Stutt said.

Imagine. A $500 million or $600 jackpot could roll over. (Maybe next Wednesday.)

A billion-dollar jackpot is thinkable - depending, of course, on how wild sales get.

Assuming the ticket machines could keep up.

By the way, the odds of winning some prize - including $4 for matching just the Powerball - are about 1 in 32.

For more on Powerball, go to www.powerball.com.

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

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