While winning the lottery is a game of chance, luck found its way to New Jersey 29 times during the last Powerball drawing. No one in the state won the nearly $950 million jackpot during Saturday's drawing, but nearly 30 people won $50,000, leading some local residents to believe that New Jersey might be the luckiest state in the U.S., local news outlets reported Tuesday.
As the lottery jackpot climbed to $1.5 billion ahead of Wednesday's drawing, Powerball fever swept the nation, with people waiting in long lines, sometimes for hours, to buy tickets. U.S. citizens have spent hundreds of millions on lottery tickets in the past week alone. Odds of winning the jackpot are around 1 in 292 million.
In addition to the 29 New Jersey residents who won $50,000, hundreds of thousands more won a combined $3,872,897 in prizes ranging from $5 to $300 in Saturday’s drawing, local radio station 101.5 reported. Three of the $50,000 tickets were sold in the Wall Township alone in the northeastern part of the state.
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All jackpot winners have to pay a tax on their winnings, along with additional state and local taxes. In New Jersey these taxes amount to 39.6 percent of the lump sum, according to a report by the radio station. If a New Jersey resident won the jackpot of approximately $1.5 billion, he or she would be left with around $594 million.
“New Jersey has been home to past Powerball winners, so we are hopeful that we can bring it home to the Garden State once again,” Carole Hediner, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery, wrote in a statement released after Saturday’s drawing. "Wherever the top prize lands, this roll is providing vital funding to our lottery beneficiaries."
Wednesday’s drawing for the record jackpot will take place at 11 p.m. EST.