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Powerball jackpot reaches $1 billion as drawing for giant prize nears

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A $1 billion Powerball jackpot will tempt lottery players Monday night who think they just might hit it rich after three months without a big winner.

The jackpot has reached $1 billion, marking the fifth time a Powerball prize has reached that level, game officials said in a news release.

No one has won Powerball’s jackpot since New Year’s Day, a stretch of 38 consecutive drawings without anyone matching the game’s six numbers. If no one wins the jackpot Monday or Wednesday night, the game will match its record number of 41 consecutive drawings on Saturday night.

The reason for the jackpot drought is simple: The odds of winning the top prize are miserable, at 1 in 292.2 million. It’s those odds that create the large jackpots that are designed to attract attention and drive up sales.

The $1 billion prize is for a sole winner who makes the rare decision to be paid over 30 years through an annuity. Nearly all winners instead take the cash option, which for Monday night’s drawing would be $483.8 million.

Powerball is played in 45 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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