ROCKFORD -- Extremely strong ticket sales nationwide have resulted in the Powerball jackpot being increased-or "bumped" in lottery parlance-to $550,000,000, making it the largest prize ever offered in the Powerball game, and only the second jackpot in U.S. history to surpass $500 million. If a single player claims the jackpot, it will be the largest prize ever awarded by a Lottery. The cash payout option is $360.2 million.
The highest-ever Lottery jackpot occurred March 30, 2012, when Mega Millions reached $656 million. That jackpot that was split three ways with Illinoisan Merle Butler from Red Bud winning a third of the prize -nearly $219 million.
QUICK POWERBALL FACTS FROM THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY
Introduced in Illinois on January 31, 2010
Overall odds of winning any prize: 1:31.8
Overall odds of winning the jackpot 1:175,000,000
Drawings are at 9:59 PM (CT) every Wednesday and Saturday
Powerball is played in 44 lottery jurisdictions across the country
Jackpots start at $40 million
Last payout was a winner from Delaware who won $50 million on October 3rd.