CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave announced today that Saturday’s Powerball® Jackpot has the highest cash value in Powerball® history at $202.9 million. The cash value is also the second highest jackpot in U.S. history.
“Even though we are not at a record annuity jackpot yet, the interest rates have caused the cash jackpot in Powerball to increase relative to annuity jackpots,” Musgrave said. “The Powerball game no longer has a limitation on jackpot growth and it will now grow with sales. We are very excited about this record high.”
The estimated annuity jackpot for Saturday’s drawing (Feb. 11) is $325 million, the fifth highest overall in Powerball® history.
“West Virginia has been a very lucky state with a total of eight Powerball jackpot wins in our history,” Musgrave. “We would love to see the first $2 Powerball jackpot winner right here!”
West Virginia’s last Powerball® jackpot winner was Randy Smith of Martinsburg who took the $44 million cash option on a $79 million Powerball jackpot in August of 2010.
The revamped Powerball® game was introduced on January 15 with bigger starting and faster growing jackpots, bigger prizes and better odds. The game was moved to a $2 price point in order to support the larger prize structure that now includes $1 million prizes for matching five numbers without the Powerball number. Other changes included changing the Powerplay option from a multiplier function to a set prize amount and reducing the number of red balls in the drawing from 39 down to 35, thus improving the odds of winning a prize.
Another important change in the game was the elimination of the jackpot limits. In the old Powerball format the jackpot could only grow by $25 million after a new record was set. The jackpot now grows with sales.