How winning record $2 billion Powerball jackpot could still lead to bankruptcy

The latest Powerball jackpot swelled to a record US$2.04 billion after another drawing passed with no winning ticket. The winning numbers of 10, 33, 41, 47, 56 and a Powerball of 10 were released on the morning of Nov. 8, 2022, after an overnight delay.

The prize is now the largest lottery the world has ever seen, overtaking a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016 and $1.54 billion Mega Millions in 2018.

The odds of winning are very small, about 1 in 292 million. You are about 400 times more likely to be hit by lightning. If every adult in the U.S. purchased just one ticket, each with a different number, there would still be a good chance – about 11% – that no winner would emerge at a given drawing and the pot would grow even larger.

But once a winner is declared and claims the prize, a more interesting question arises: What happens to all that money and the supposedly lucky ticket holder? As research by me and others shows, it’s often not what you’d expect.