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The Margin: The Powerball jackpot is now $1.9 billion, setting another record

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The Powerball jackpot has now reached a record $1.9 billion, breaking the previous mark of $1.6 billion after no winners claimed the top prize in Saturday’s drawing.

That’s the word from Powerball officials in advance of the next drawing, which is set for Monday, Nov. 7.

“Like the rest of America, and the world, I think we’re all eager to find out when this historic jackpot will eventually be won,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball product group chair and Pennsylvania Lottery executive director. Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If there’s only a single winner of this Monday’s drawing and that person claims the lump-sum prize (as opposed to payments spread over multiple years), they’ll take home $929.1 million, Powerball officials said.

So, how did the jackpot get so high? The basic explanation: No one has won the top Powerball prize, which requires matching five numbers plus the Powerball number, since Aug. 3. In other words, there’s been a run of 40 drawings without a jackpot recipient and the prize indeed grows after each such non-winning drawing.

But why is no one winning? A recent Fortune story noted that less people are playing per drawing than a few years ago, which means that there’s less likelihood of a jackpot-winning ticket.

Inflation and the challenging economy could also be a contributing role in people’s decision to buy a ticket — or not.  A spokesperson at Jackpocket, a lottery-ticket app, said fuel costs may play into that as well.

“High gas prices can dissuade (people) from driving to their traditional retail locations to purchase tickets,” said the spokesperson.

Not everyone came up empty-handed in Saturday’s Powerball drawing. Officials said there were 10.9 million winning tickets with a combined cash prize of $102.2 million. That included 16 tickets with a winning prize of $1 million and 1 ticket with a prize of $2 million. Powerball prizes vary depending on how many numbers are matched and whether players pay for a Power Play option.

If you do decide to purchase a Powerball ticket for Monday’s drawing, it’s worth keeping in mind that the odds are not exactly in your favor to win the $1.9 billion jackpot. The chance of claiming the top prize is 1 in 292.2 million.

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