The U.S. Powerball jackpot leaped to at least US$645 million (S$843) on Thursday (Mar 21) ahead of its second drawing after no one claimed the winning numbers announced on Wednesday, when the cash prize was at US$550 million, according to lottery officials.
The jackpot, which surpassed the US$600 million mark for the fourth time in history, has an estimated cash value of US$380.6 million, officials said. The next drawing was scheduled for Saturday, March 23.
"A lot like the flowers in the southwest, this US$625 million Powerball jackpot is a spectacular super bloom," David Barden, Powerball Product Group Chairman, said in the statement. "It does not happen often – and when it does, everyone wants to be a part of it."
The latest increase comes more than two weeks after an anonymous sole winner of a US$1.5 billion U.S. Mega Millions drawing last fall claimed the jackpot, according South Carolina's lottery commission.
Lottery players in the United States were in a frenzy ahead of October's drawing, forming long lines outside of ticket-sellers. In the four days leading up to the drawing, about 370 million of the US$2 Mega Millions tickets were sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The winner, only referred to as a "South Carolinian", collected a record one-time cash sum of more than US$877 million.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Susan Thomas)