Story by with Miguel Legoas, Augusta Chronicle and NBC New York Affiliate
Two Powerball lottery players in Georgia had a very lucky holiday season. The Dec. 23 drawing results show there was a winning ticket worth $50,000 and the Christmas Day drawing results show a winning ticket worth $2 million.
However, no one scored the jackpot, which is now up to $685 million. It could soon cross into the top-10 biggest Powerball jackpots. The No. 1 spot belongs to a $2.04 billion ticket sold in California in November 2022.
While we're on the subject, jackpot continues to rise after no tickets hit the top lottery prize for Monday's Christmas Day drawing.
Historically, there have been only three Powerball jackpots won on Christmas. The last time this occurred was ten years ago, on Dec. 25, 2013, when a ticket in Missouri won the $71.5 million jackpot.
The prize is now $685 million for Wednesday's drawing. But that's only for winners who choose to take their riches through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, which is currently estimated at $344.7 million, before taxes.
This is the fourth Powerball jackpot to exceed half a billion dollars this calendar year. The Powerball jackpot was previously won on Oct. 11 when a ticket in California won a $1.765 billion grand prize. That winner has yet to come forward.
Since then, there have been 32 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner. The winless streak is due to the abysmal odds of winning: one in 292.2 million.
The longer the game goes without a grand prize winner, the larger the payout will grow. And with huge jackpots becoming increasingly common in lottery drawings — with eight grand prizes between Powerball and Mega Millions surpassing $1 billion since 2016 — this latest Powerball streak could very likely become the ninth.
The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history stands at $2.04 billion and was won by a single Powerball ticket in California on Nov. 7, 2022. The winner, Edwin Castro, came forward earlier this year after months of speculation.