Powerball jackpot soars to whopping $1.5 billion, 3rd-largest in US history

The Powerball jackpot is "approaching world record" territory, reaching an estimated $1.5 billion after no one matched all six numbers in Wednesday night’s drawing, lottery officials said.

The winner, who must match numbers on five white balls (1-69) and the red Powerball (1-26), also has the option to claim a one-time lump sum payment of an estimated $745.9 million before taxes.

Lottery officials said the current jackpot ranks as the 2nd largest in Powerball history, only behind the world record $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot, and 3rd largest in U.S. lottery history.

The next drawing will be held at 10:59 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Last night’s Powerball jackpot winning numbers

The winning numbers in Wednesday evening’s drawing of the Powerball game were: 2, 11, 22, 35, 60, and red Powerball 23.

There were 16 tickets that matched all five white balls to win a $1 million prize (AZ, CA-2, CO, GA-2, MD-2, MN, NC, NJ-2, NY, OR, TX, VA), and three tickets in Arkansas, Montana, and New Jersey matched all five white balls and increased the prize to $2 million by including the Power Play option for an additional $1 per play.

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Doris Natal of Reading checks out her 126 Powerball tickets as part of a pool with the Berks County Sheriff's Office at the Sunoco in Exeter. Photo by Natalie Kolb 8/23/2017

FILE - A person checks their Powerball tickets on Aug. 23, 2017. (Photo By Natalie Kolb/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

How to play the Powerball Jackpot

The Powerball jackpot grows until a winning ticket is sold. Winners can choose to receive their prize as an annuity, paid in 30 payments over 29 years, or take the lump sum payment. Federal and jurisdictional taxes are applicable to either payout.

Powerball drawings are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday in 45 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The drawings are broadcast live from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee, and also live-streamed on Powerball.com.

The grand prize was previously won on Aug. 3 in Pennsylvania, resulting in a $206.9 million jackpot. Since then, there have been 39 consecutive drawings without a grand prize winner, lottery officials said.

Powerball currently holds the world record for the largest jackpot ever: a whopping $1.586 billion prize in 2016 that was shared by winners in California, Florida, and Tennessee.

Odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot

The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are just 1 in 292.2 million. To put that into perspective, those odds are a little worse than flipping a coin and getting heads 28 straight times, University of Nebraska-Omaha mathematics professor Andrew Swift previously told the Associated Press.

For those feeling lucky and wanting to spend $2 for a ticket, the overall odds of winning any prize is a little better at 1 in 24.9.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.