CHARLESTON, W.Va. - If someone wins the estimated $340 million Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, he or she won't be the only one who will benefit from the record prize.
Players matching all but the Powerball number in the same drawing that the jackpot is won will get a larger-than-normal prize, thanks to a bonus that kicks in when the jackpot reaches a record level. Those players could also become millionaires if the jackpot continues to grow, West Virginia Lottery Commission spokeswoman Nancy Bulla said Monday.
Normally, a player matching five numbers but not the Powerball wins $200,000. But if there is record jackpot, Powerball officials cap the next drawing's contribution from ticket sales at $25 million. Any additional money goes into a bonus prize pool for the Match 5 winners.
The Match 5 bonus pool will have an estimated $13 million for Wednesday's drawing, according to the Powerball Web site.
Bulla said about 30 Match 5 winners are anticipated in Wednesday's drawing, based on previous drawings with large jackpots. If someone wins the jackpot, the Match 5 winners would get an extra $450,000 each, she said.
"The fewer winners, the more money they'll get," she said.
If the jackpot is not won Wednesday and continues to grow, the Match 5 winners "could win millions, depending on how long we go," Bulla said.
Should there be no Match 5 winners when the jackpot is hit, the bonus pool would go to players who match four numbers and the Powerball. That prize normally is $10,000.
Powerball is played in 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The jackpot has been growing since mid August and 20 drawings have passed without a jackpot being won. It is the biggest jackpot in the game's history and eclipses the previous record of $314.9 million won on Christmas Day 2002 by Jack Whittaker of Scott Depot.
When the jackpot is won, it will mark the first time that the Match 5 bonus is awarded. The bonus was created after Whittaker's record win, Bulla said.
Whittaker purchased his winning ticket at C & L Super Serve, a convenience store in Hurricane. Since then, the store has become a magnet for Powerball players hoping that lightning will strike twice.
Powerball sales were at least four times higher than normal for Saturday's drawing, when the current jackpot was an estimated $305 million, manager Andi Perrine said.
"A lot of people come back and buy (tickets) here because Jack bought his here. ... We have tourists come through from different states who say, 'We just wanted to stop here and buy because he won here,'" she said.
"And we sold another winner, either $100,000 or $200,000, so people keep saying good things happen in threes."