October 25, 2018 / 9:14 AM / 19 days ago

U.S. Powerball lottery leaps to $750 million after massive Mega Millions jackpot

(Reuters) - No tickets matched the six numbers drawn in the Powerball lottery on Wednesday, sending the jackpot to $750 million, the fourth largest in U.S. history and the second astronomical jackpot this week.

FILE PHOTO: A sign advertising the next Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina, U.S. October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

The Powerball numbers 3, 21, 45, 53, 56 and a Powerball of 22 were drawn on Wednesday night. The next drawing will be held on Saturday at 11 p.m. EST.

The lump sum cash payout is estimated at $428.6 million.

Powerball’s historic jackpot comes after the U.S. Mega Millions lottery reached a jackpot of $1.537 billion, just short of a world record.

Only one ticket matched all six numbers in the Mega Million drawing on Tuesday night. The ticket was sold in Simpsonville, South Carolina, at a KC Mart convenience store, Mayor Janice Curtis said.

The town of 22,000, about 14 miles from Greenville, was abuzz as people clamored to learn more about the winner, but in South Carolina, the person who hit the jackpot can opt to remain anonymous.

The buyer of the ticket beat the odds of 1 in 303 million to win the Mega Millions drawing for one of the largest jackpots in U.S. history.

The jaw-dropping jackpot failed to break the record for lottery winnings, held by the $1.586 billion Powerball prize in January 2016.

Before the Mega Millions drawing, lottery officials had been reporting an expected $1.6 billion jackpot, based on estimates tied to historical patterns, lottery spokeswoman Carole Bober Gentry said on Wednesday.

After the drawing, lottery officials rolled back the jackpot total to $1.537 billion, based on actual ticket sales.

For the winner, options include an immediate cash payment of $877.8 million, or the $1.537 billion prize paid out over 29 years.

There were 36 second-tier winners, those who picked five winning numbers but did not match the Mega Ball. Most were rewarded with a $1 million prize, but two of them, in Florida and Texas, added a Megaplier option, tripling their winnings to $3 million.

In the four days leading up to the drawing, about 370 million of the $2 Mega Millions tickets were sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

Sales reached nearly $740 million during that time, lottery officials said.

Several states allow online ticket purchases, but they prohibit out-of-state and foreign purchases.

States receive a percentage of lottery ticket sales and use the money to support public schools or to meet other needs.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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