Powerball jackpot grows to $685M without Christmas winner: How much you’d actually take home

(NEXSTAR) – There was no Christmas luck for any Powerball players on Monday, with no ticketholders winning the Christmas Day jackpot.

Ahead of the drawing, Powerball officials estimated the jackpot at roughly $638 million. While nobody matched all six winning numbers — 5, 12, 20, 24, 29, and red Powerball 4 — two tickets sold in Colorado and Georgia matched five numbers and the Power Play (at 2X) making them worth $2 million apiece. Three tickets, sold in California, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, matched five numbers, making each worth $1 million.

Had anyone hit the Powerball jackpot on Monday, it would have been the third time in game history that the grand prize was won on Christmas Day. But, since the jackpot rolled over again, it now sits at an estimated $685 million ahead of Wednesday’s drawing.

At that size (which could change before the drawing), the jackpot ranks as the 11th-largest overall, coming in just behind a $687.8-million prize split by winners in Iowa and New York in 2018. The current jackpot has been building since the last jackpot was hit in October, when a $1.765 billion prize was won by a ticket sold in California.

A winner would, however, receive much less than the advertised $685 million, or the $344.7 million cash value.

There are two payout options a Powerball jackpot winner chooses from: the cash lump sum payment and the annuitized option. The cash payout is the amount of money Powerball officials believe they’ll have in the prize pool at the time of the drawing, which would be enough to fund the annuity option. The annuitized amount is what you’ll see advertised most. If you select the annuity option, you’ll receive an initial payment followed by 29 annual payments that increase by 5% each year. 

With either payout, you’d see a large chunk automatically withheld for taxes. Though some states do not have a state lottery tax withholding, they all must withhold 24% in federal tax on prizes as large as this jackpot. With additional taxes, you’ll see roughly 37% of your prize money withheld, should you win. 

At best, a winner for the current Powerball jackpot would take home $217.2 million with the cash option or $432.7 million overall with the annuitized payments, according to calculations by USA Mega. This is true for the states that do not have a local lottery tax.

Outside of those states, a winner (with a federal filing status of single) in Arizona would pocket the most money at $208.6 million for the cash option or $415.5 million with annuitized payments, USA Mega reports. A winner in New York would lose the most to taxes, seeing a cash payout of roughly $179.6 million or $358 million with the annuitized payments. (New York residents who live in NYC or Yonkers, where additional withholding is imposed, would have even less.)

The above estimates are also reflective of the best-case scenario. You could end up splitting your Powerball jackpot with another winner — or two, or even more. Even though the odds of winning the jackpot are slim (1 in 292.2 million), 18 of the more than 200 Powerball jackpots won since 2003 have been split by at least two tickets.

If you’re lucky enough to win the jackpot, even if you’re splitting it, experts recommend moving quickly to assemble a team that includes an attorney, a tax advisor and a financial advisor. They also encourage protecting your ticket and keeping your victory a secret for as long as possible. 

That may be easier in some states than others — only a select few let winners of a jackpot this large remain anonymous.

Should the jackpot be won this month, it would be the largest-ever December prize in Powerball history, according to game records. That title is currently held by a $298.3 million jackpot won by a New York ticket on December 26, 2018.

Powerball tickets are $2 each and sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET. Players have a 1 in 24.9 chance of winning any Powerball prize.

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