Powerball take-home prize depends on taxes, lump sum option

The Powerball jackpot for Monday night's drawing is estimated at a record $1.9 billion. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The Powerball jackpot for Monday night's drawing is estimated at a record $1.9 billion. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Powerball jackpot for Monday night's drawing is estimated at a record $1.9 billion. How much of that a winner would actually take home depends on where they bought the ticket and whether they opt for a lump sum.

The drawing could result in the largest Powerball payout in history, beating the $1.59 billion prize awarded in 2016.


Powerball winners are faced with a choice of taking their winnings as an annuity -- paid in installments over a period of 30 years -- or a lump sum. Choosing the lump sum, which lottery officials say is the more popular option, automatically reduces the prize to its "cash value" of $929.1 million.

The "cash value" of $929.1 million would then immediately be reduced further by a 24% federal tax withholding, bringing the take-home total to $706,116,000. That number would be further reduced by a state tax withholding, depending on the location where the ticket was purchased.


An additional $120,783,000 would be due to the federal government at tax time next year.

If all of this seems complicated, the odds are not: A single ticket's chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are calculated at 1 in 292,201,338. That means the average person has a greater chance of being struck by lighting in their lifetime, being eaten by a shark, being killed by a meteorite or being crushed by a vending machine than winning.

Smaller prizes

A player who matches all five white balls but misses the Powerball would win a $1 million second-prize, which is doubled to $2 million if the player purchased the $1 Power Play option. The odds of winning the second prize are 1 in 11,688,053.52, which is at least more likely than the 1 in 112 million chance of death by vending machine.

The next highest prize goes to players who match four white balls and the Powerball. These players win $50,000, which is increased to $100,000, $150,000, $200,000 or $250,000 for Power Play purchasers, depending on the multiplier number selected before the drawing. A 10x multiplier for non-jackpot prizes is only added into the mix for drawings with a jackpot under $150 million. The odds of winning at this tier are 1 in 913,129.18.


Players who match four of five white balls (odds of 1 in 36,525.17), or three of five white balls, plus the Powerball (odds of 1 in 14,494.11), earn a $100 prize. This Power Play prize is multiplied by two, three, four or five depending on the multiplier. Matching three of five white balls (odds of 1 in 579.76), or two of five white balls, plus the Powerball (odds of one in 701.33), results in a $7 prize that is similarly multiplied for Power Play.

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The smallest prize of $4 is awarded to players who match a single white ball and the Powerball or the Powerball alone. Power Play options would also multiply this prize. The odds are a comparatively achievable 1 in 91.98 for matching a number, plus the Powerball or 1 in 38.32 for the Powerball alone.

Double Play

A second drawing, called the Double Play, is held directly following the Powerball drawing. Players who chose the $1 Double Play option on their tickets have their same Powerball numbers entered in this drawing. The prizes for this drawing are not affected by the multiplier.

The top prize for Double Play, matching all five white balls and the Powerball, is an automatic $10 million prize. The odds of winning this prize are 1 in 292,201,338.


Matching all five white balls in a Double Play drawing without the Powerball is worth $500,000, with odds of 1 in 11,688,053.52. Matching four white balls plus the Powerball (odds of 1 in 913,129.18) is worth $50,000, or $500 without the Powerball (odds of 1 in 36,525.17).

Prizes of $500 are also paid out to players who match three white balls and Powerball, beating odds of 1 in 14,494.11. Three of five white balls (odds of 1 in 579.76) is worth $20, the same as matching two white balls plus the Powerball (odds of 1 in 701.33). Players who beat odds of 1 in 91.98 to match one white ball and the Powerball earn $10 and players who match only the Powerball, odds of 1 in 38.32, win $7.

What if you win?

A player who wins Monday night's jackpot has some decisions ahead of them, but experts say the first thing they should do is secure their ticket.

"The first thing they should do is try and keep calm and put the ticket somewhere secure, such as a safety deposit box," Timothy Schultz, an Iowa man who won a $28 million Powerball prize in 1999, told Fox Business.


Some states allow lottery winners to maintain their anonymity, and financial experts advise big jackpot winners to take this option.

"Staying anonymous is the best thing to do," Brian Kabateck, a managing partner at Kabateck LLP, told WABC-TV. "Before you even claim the ticket, put together a pool of experts lawyers, financial advisers, tax advisers, people that can tell you the best things to do and the best decisions."

Monday's Powerball is at 10:59 p.m. EST. The jackpot is $1.9 billion, but there's no guarantee that the next drawing will have a top prize winner -- the Powerball is on a streak of 40 consecutive drawings without a winner.

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