DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The record-breaking $1.9 billion Powerball drawing was delayed because a participating lottery had issues processing sales and it’s likely that the results won’t be known until later Tuesday, officials said.
“Powerball requires all 48 participating lotteries to submit their sales and play data prior to the winning numbers being selected. Once Powerball receives the outstanding submission, the drawing can proceed,” the Multi-State Lottery Association said in a statement.
Nearly three hours after the scheduled 10:59 p.m. EST Monday drawing, the association told The Associated Press: “It’s against our policy to name the lottery that is experiencing the delay.” On Tuesday morning, the association said in a new statement that Powerball was “in communication with the lottery throughout the night as it works to resolve the issue.”
“Like the rest of America, Powerball is eager to hold its drawing for the world record jackpot, however, protecting the integrity of the draw is of upmost importance, even if that means a further delay,” the statement said.
The winning numbers and recorded video of the drawing will be posted to the Powerball website and YouTube channel. Players should hold onto their tickets, the statement said.
The jackpot is nearly $400 million larger than the previous record jackpot and will keep growing until someone wins the prize. Only four previous jackpots have topped $1 billion, but none of those are close to the current prize, which started at $20 million back on Aug. 6 and over three winless months has grown ever more massive. No one has won the jackpot since Aug. 3.
A winner who chooses an annuity, paid annually over 29 years, would get the estimated $1.9 billion payout. Nearly all winners instead opt for cash, which for Monday’s drawing would be $929.1 million.
Even as more people attracted by the giant prize drop $2 on a Powerball ticket, the game’s ultra-long odds of 1 in 292.2 million means there still is a good chance that another drawing will pass without anyone winning the grand prize. That would push the jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing to more than $2 billion.
Those who spend $2 on a Powerball ticket might wonder if something is wrong when 40 drawings pass without a jackpot winner, but this is how the game is designed. It’s unlikely anyone will win the prize until a growing jackpot attracts more players. And more ticket sales mean the lottery can raise more money for public programs, which is the point of the state lotteries.
Still, it has been an awful long time without a jackpot, and if there isn’t a winner some time Tuesday now because of the delay, a record will have been reached: 41 draws without anyone matching all six numbers.
The game is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.