Three winning tickets were sold in a record $1.6 billion Powerball drawing.
Here's what you need to know about the big game:
A RECORD JACKPOT
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4. Because no one won for several months, the prize kept growing, along with ticket sales in the 44 participating states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The jackpot estimate is reviewed daily, and the odds of winning were a mere 1 in 292.2 million.
WHEN WINNERS WILL BE KNOWN
It took several hours after the drawing to determine that the jackpot-winning tickets were sold in Tennessee, Florida and Southern California. The winners' identities remained a mystery early Thursday.
STATES THAT DON'T PLAY
Six states have no lotteries of any kind. Religious beliefs have posed a barrier in Alabama, Mississippi and Utah. Alaska has been more concerned that a lottery wouldn't pay off in such a sparsely populated state. In Hawaii, lawmakers have proposed lottery measures, but the idea always fails. And in Nevada, the lottery snub is largely a nod to the state's casinos, which have no interest in the competition.
THE QUEST FOR TICKETS
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, reports that some of the biggest ticket sales come from border cities. That means residents of states without Powerball are driving to neighboring states to play the lottery and probably spending money on gas, soda or snacks in the process.
For instance, some Nevada residents have been traveling through the desert to California and waiting in line for hours for a chance to win. Other lottery players enlist an out-of-state friend to buy tickets.
Other countries offer large jackpots too. Spain's massively popular Christmas lottery, known as "El Gordo," is ranked as the world's richest, though it doles out a single jackpot among millions of prizes, instead of one large jackpot like the Powerball. El Gordo last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country.