Excited wait in US for world record $1.6 bln jackpot announcement

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Powerball mania hit the United States on Saturday as numbers were drawn for a $1.6 billion jackpot, a world record.

No winner was immediately announced, and any winner could take days to come forward.

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“Guess I’m going back to work on Monday #powerball,” wrote a Twitter user with the handle Greg after the drawing.

The Powerball jackpot is the biggest ever amassed and it set many minds spinning about what they would do with such wealth.

“Dream homes, travel, help family and friends,” said Dontel Ducksworth, a 28-year-old visiting a 7-Eleven convenience store in the US capital. “But you gotta take care of yourself first.”

A steady stream of customers was snapping up Powerball tickets in the run-up to the drawing at 10:59 pm (0259 GMT) Saturday.
“I keep saying, ‘Good luck!’“ said Bezu Wondi, the 28-year-old 7-Eleven cashier.

He’s hoping that a winning ticket might be purchased by a customer visiting his store.

“They say, if they win, ‘I’ll give you money,’” Wondi said. “They make promises,” he added, giggling.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, the Powerball organizers said. And if there are duplicate winners who select the same combination of numbers, they would share the jackpot.

“I don’t know how to play it,” said Yoss Aguilar, a 25-year-old cashier at a Wawa convenience store. But she’s seen the stream of people buying Powerball tickets at a vending machine inside her store adorned with a big sign: “Lots of people WIN.”

It costs $2 to buy a Powerball ticket, and a winner could choose a lump sum payment, calculated for Saturday’s jackpot at $782.4 million. Or they could opt for payments over 30 years.

“I wonder how much they really get after taxes?” asked Aguilar.

Still a lot, even with US tax authorities taking around 40 percent.

Ducksworth, the actor, and his friend, Karl Holland, a 28-year-old artist, debated how they’d deal with such huge winnings.

“It could be overwhelming,” said Holland.

“There’s never too much,” responded Ducksworth.

“There IS always too much money. You become a target,” Holland said, adding that all kinds of friends would hit him up for cash. “I don’t say ‘no’ too easily.”

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