The numbers drawn on the night were 4, 8, 19, 27 and 34 with Powerball 10, and the winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. California lottery officials were the first to disclose information about the extraordinary giveaway, revealing that one player had struck lucky with an entry purchased at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills in the south of the state.
In the hours after the announcement, television footage showed showed hundreds of people crowding into the winning store. As TV crews and local residents descended on the 7-Eleven, which will receive a $1 million bonus for selling a winning ticket, there were chants of ‘Chino Hills! Chino Hills’ and the store clerk on duty was seen posing for selfies with some of the gatherers.
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million, but a run of 19 rollovers had generated a huge amount of interest. According to Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, ticket sales were ‘exponentially higher’ than normal, and it is thought that as many as $1.3 million may have been sold per minute at the peak time during the evening rush hour.
Previously, the largest Powerball jackpot ever won was the $590.5 million won by Gloria MacKenzie of Florida in May 2013. The new record eclipses MacKenzie’s win by almost $1 billion, although as there were three jackpot-winning tickets last night she still holds the high mark as the biggest single Powerball winner. The $656 million split between three players on Mega Millions in March 2012 had previously been the biggest lottery jackpot ever.
The Powerball jackpot will now revert to its base amount of $40 million for the next draw on Saturday night, giving players another chance to snap up a staggering amount of cash. Tickets can be bought online from around the world or from authorised retailers within the USA, as fans of the game try to emulate the success of Wednesday’s record-breakers.