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September 1, 2014

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Powerball jackpot at $400 million after no weekend winner

DES MOINES, Iowa — No one hit the Powerball jackpot this weekend, so the money will roll over and create a roughly $400 million prize for Wednesday's drawing.

The midweek jackpot remains below the record $590.5 million jackpot won in May by an 84-year-old Florida woman. But as it stands, it would be the third-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the fourth-largest lottery prize on record.

Saturday's winning numbers were 21, 24, 36, 42 and 45; the Powerball was 15.

The changes Powerball organizers made to the game last year are coming to roost in the billowing jackpots, with Wednesday's pushing into record territory less than three months after Gloria C. Mackenzie of Zephyrhills, Fla., claimed the biggest Powerball prize ever.

Powerball tickets doubled in price to $2 in January 2012 as part of a plan to help jackpots grow bigger, faster. And when the jackpots reach astronomical levels, ticket sales take off, with jackpots following close behind.

If Wednesday's jackpot doesn't top $400 million, a single winner choosing the cash option would collect $230.3 million before taxes.

No matter how many people play the game, the odds of matching all six numbers remains 1 in 175.2 million.

Half of the $2 cost of a Powerball ticket goes toward the prizes, the rest to the state lottery organization.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Each state that participates in the game decides how to use the money. Some states earmark the money for a specific purpose, such as education, while others use it in their general funds.

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