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    Jan 11, 2016

    Powerball jackpot swells to $1.9b


    THE jackpot for the US Powerball lottery rose to a whopping US$1.3 billion (S$1.9 billion) yesterday after organisers said there was no winner in the weekend draw.

    The prize rocketed to US$950 million on Saturday, fuelling a frenzy of ticket buying across the United States.

    Numbers were drawn and announced late on Saturday and lottery officials later said there was no winner.

    According to the rules, the winner can choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual instalments over 29 years or take a lower one-off payment in cash.

    The cash for the new jackpot would amount to US$806 million before taxes, according to the official Powerball site.

    Drawings for the Powerball jackpot began on Nov 7, and despite a new series of numbers announced every Wednesday and Saturday since, no winner has been declared.

    Americans with dreams of life-changing riches have been flocking for days to buy tickets which are sold in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands.

    In the Powerball game, five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls. One red one is pulled from a drum with 26 balls. The Saturday winning numbers were 32-16-19-57-34 and the Powerball was 13, organisers said.

    To win, all six numbers on the ticket must be correct, with the first five in any order. The final number, however, must be the Powerball one.

    The current prize shatters the previous record for a US lottery jackpot of US$656 million, scooped by three winning tickets in March 2012.

    Gloria Mackenzie, 84, from Florida holds the record for the largest single Powerball jackpot win, US$590.5 million, on May 18, 2013.

    The next drawing is scheduled for Wednesday, organisers said.

    Powerball starts its jackpot at US$40 million and lets it grow if there are no winners.

    In the US, small-prize scratch lottery cards are popular while two prizes - Mega Millions and Powerball - offer eye-popping payouts.

    Both games are organised by the Multi-State Lottery Association, a non-profit group owned by lotteries from 34 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.