Tonight could be a life-changing night for some "lucky" individual in one of the 45 states that offer residents a chance to play the Powerball lottery game. Tonight's Powerball jackpot is the second largest in the game's history. When the balls drop tonight the estimated top prize will be \$1.2 billion dollars.

Game officials say the Powerball game has not gotten a jackpot winner in almost three months. The last time the game's top prize was won was on August 3rd of this year. Since then the starting jackpot of \$20 million has grown to what we currently have now. And based on reports of brisk Powerball sales across the nation tonight's jackpot could climb even higher than \$1.2 billion.

### How much is tonight's Powerball worth?

If you're planning on taking the annuity option, the Powerball jackpot will be at least \$1.2 billion dollars. The estimated cash prize for tonight's game is \$596.7 million. The actual amount available to win will not be determined until ticket sales have ceased. So, these figures are estimates.

### How Much Does a Powerball Ticket Cost?

Tickets can be purchased from any lottery retailer in the state for just \$2. For an added dollar a player may opt-in on the Powerplay. Some states offer Powerball tickets online, but Louisiana does not.

### Can I Purchase a Powerball Ticket with a Credit or Debit Card?

According to the Louisiana Lottery website, "Administrative regulations do not prohibit the use of credit cards to purchase Lottery products". However, individual retailers can decide what forms of payment they will accept and some do not take credit cards for lottery purchases.

### How Do You Play Powerball?

The game is played like this, you will select six numbers for each of your "entries". Five of those numbers are the "white balls" the other number is the Powerball. The white balls are numbered 1-69. The Powerballs are numbered 1-26. In order to win the jackpot prize you must all five of the white ball numbers drawn and the Powerball too.

### What is the Powerplay Option?

A regular Powerball ticket costs \$2. For an additional \$1 a player can add the Powerplay option to his or her ticket. The Powerplay is determined by a random drawing before each Powerball drawing. The Powerplay can multiply non-jackpot prizes by 2,3,4,5 or even 10 times. The 10x multiplier only comes into play when the jackpot annuity is \$150 million or less.

### What's the Difference Between the Cash Option and the Annuity?

A Powerball winner can choose that their winnings be paid out in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, that's the annuity option. Or they may take a lump sum payment. The cash option is the amount of money required to be in the jackpot prize pool on the day of the drawing that would be needed to fund the annuity.

### How Much Are the Taxes on a Powerball Winner?

The federal government will take 24% of gambling winnings right off the bat. For tonight's \$1.2 billion dollar jackpot that's about \$124 million. The top federal tax rate for a single taxpayer is 37%. So, if you don't have any deductions, dependents, or other withholdings you're looking at another \$78 million going to the taxman too. Then come the state taxes which are tallied at 4.25% on lottery prizes of \$5,000 or more.

### When is the Deadline to Purchase Tickets?

Powerball ticket sales must cease at least one hour before the official drawing takes place. The drawing is scheduled for 9:59 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings.

### How Do I Check My Numbers?

The Louisiana Lottery Website offers a widget that allows Powerball players to type in their numbers. Otherwise, players may find the winning numbers on the Louisiana Lottery site or the Powerball site.

### What if I am in a Group and We Win?

Lottery rules allow for prizes to be split among multiple winners. However, only one prize check is issued. The check will be made out to either a single person or to the legal entity that represents the group. Each member of the group must submit proper tax documentation. The person claiming the prize is responsible for the disbursement of winnings among the group.

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