Gandhi Amrutlal sells a Powerball lottery ticket at his market in Chicago. (Scott Olson / Getty Images )
Don't bother telling Wednesday night's Powerball winners that a lottery is just a tax on those who flunked math. With a winning ticket in hand, or even just the dream of one, who cares if the odds against them exceeded 175 million to 1?
Last-minute ticket-buying pushed the jackpot to nearly $580 million, which is how much a single winner would get if he or she took the money in annual payments over 30 years.
The winning numbers: 5-16-22-23-29, and the Powerball: 06.
Hours after the 8 p.m. drawing, officials said winning tickets had been sold in Arizona and Missouri.
No one had won since Oct. 6, causing the jackpot to roll over 16 times. It grows at least $10 million every time no one wins, lottery officials said.
To play Powerball, one must pick five unique numbers from 1 through 59, and a Powerball number from 1 through 35. The odds of winning are 1 in 175,223,510.
Powerball tickets aren't sold in California, but some feverish residents reportedly drove or flew to one of 42 participating states to buy a chance at a fortune. The District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands also participate.
Maybe the next time the jackpot soars, out-of-state travel won't be necessary. On Thursday, the California State Lottery Commission is expected to adopt regulations to join the Powerball lottery. If so, California retailers could start selling the $2 tickets in April.
[Updated, 10:45 p.m., Nov. 28: An earlier version of this post said the jackpot would exceed $550 million. Late Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, Powerball officials said it would be nearly $580 million. And early Thursday EST, lottery officials said winning tickets had been sold in Arizona and Missouri.]
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