How Many People Can Win The Powerball? You Might Have To Share Your Billion-Dollar Prize

The largest lottery prize in U.S. history has whipped the country into a frenzy. With a prize amount of $1.5 billion and millions of tickets being purchased, many are wondering how many people can win the Powerball? Whereas certain state lotteries have a set amount of winners, the Powerball is somewhat a free for all. Those who match all six numbers, including the special red number, will not be racing against the clock to claim their prize before someone else does but rather will share the wealth with their fellow winners.

According to a Powerball FAQ, "If more than one person wins the jackpot, the prize is equally divided among the winners. All other prizes, from $1 million down to $4, are fixed prize amounts, and are paid in full to each winner." What that means is that your earnings may vary depending on how many people also win the grand prize. The set amount prizes for matching, say, a "match five" to win that $1 million will not be affected. A little under 1,500 winners would have to step forward for their prize money to match the million dollar amount — a highly unlikely scenario given the fact that the odds of winning are one in 292 million.

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What sets the Powerball apart from many other lottery games, including international lotteries like the EuroMillions, is the fact that the game is eligible to anyone and not just U.S. citizens. You have to be in the country to buy the ticket, as purchasing a Powerball ticket online or by mail is illegal. Foreign Powerball winners are subject to taxes for their earnings as well, though that amount may vary depending on which country they hail from. The U.S. government withholds 30 percent as a flat tax regardless.

Group earnings are a little tricker, however, so take heed before you buy that ticket for your very large office. In a statement to Bustle, California Lottery's Alex Traverso says that there are some restrictions when it comes to a large group stepping forward to claim their earnings:

If you have a group, you can have as many people in that group as you want, but you can only file claims for up to 100 people. So if you had a group of 101 people, then one person would have to claim and take responsibility for dividing it all up.
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With opportunities for residents and non-residents alike as well as groups, it's no wonder that the Powerball has become the biggest thing around. It is, after all, the biggest jackpot the game has ever seen. If no winners come forward following the Wednesday night drawing, the prize amount could raise even higher to a Powerball jackpot of $2 billion.