Winning No. of record US$949 mil. US Powerball jackpot announced

By Margery Beck , AP

The winning numbers for a record Powerball jackpot of nearly US$950 million were announced late Saturday, setting off a scramble among hopeful lottery players across the U.S. to check if they held a lucky ticket.

The winning numbers were 32-16-19-57-34 and the Powerball No. 13. All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be in any order.

Texas state lottery spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said it was too early to know if any winning tickets were sold.

Cripe said the final size of the jackpot was US$949.8 million, the largest lottery prize in history. Earlier in the day, the Multi-State Lottery Association had said the jackpot would be US$900 million.

If no one matches all the numbers, the next drawing is expected to soar to US$1.3 billion.

Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its US$40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot. Such a huge jackpot was just what officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million.

The tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.

The U.S. saw sales of US$277 million on Friday alone and more than US$400 million were expected Saturday, according to Gary Grief, the executive director of the Texas Lottery.

The chance of no one hitting all five initial numbers and the Powerball number was growing slimmer, Grief said, anticipating that about 75 percent of all combinations will have been bought.