CHICAGO (CBS) — With more than two days left until the next drawing, the Powerball jackpot has climbed to a staggering $1.4 billion, easily the largest lottery pot ever in the world.
With no Powerball winner since November 7, the jackpot has continued to grow for more than two months now, and will get even bigger by the time the winning numbers are drawn Wednesday night.
To put the record jackpot in perspective, the current $1.4 billion prize already is more than double the next largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, a $657 million Mega Millions prize split by three winners in March 2012. If a single winner opted for a cash payout, he or she would get $868 million before taxes, or $211 million more than that Mega Millions prize.
Thinking of buying every combination of numbers to guarantee you can win? Legally, sure, that’s a possibility, and it might seem like a good investment at first blush. With 292 million possible number combinations, it would cost you $584 million to buy enough tickets to guarantee a win, but don’t forget, that $868 million lump sum comes with a sizable income tax bill. After federal taxes alone, you’d get only about $524 million, and you’d still owe state income taxes.
Choosing to have your winnings paid out over 30 years so you get paid the full $1.4 billion wouldn’t really help either, since you’d have to tally up what we can only guess would be the largest credit card debt in history to get all those tickets now and pay for them later. We don’t even want to think of what the interest would be on that.