DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The record-breaking $1.9 billion Powerball drawing was delayed Monday night because a participating lottery had issues processing sales, officials said.
“Powerball has strict security requirements that must be met by all 48 lotteries before a drawing can occur. When the required security protocols are complete, the drawing will be performed under the supervision of lottery security officials and independent auditors,” the lottery said.
In an emailed statement to queries from The Associated Press, the Multi-State Lottery Association said the delay was the result of a participating lottery that needed additional time to process its sales.
Nearly three hours after the scheduled 10:59 p.m. EST drawing, the association told the AP, “It’s against our policy to name the lottery that is experiencing the delay,” and that there was still no estimated timeline for the Powerball drawing.
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. With odds of 1 in 292 million, that means 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 new 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.