The jackpot in Powerball starts at $3 million and rolls over to subsequent draws if it is not won. The top prize is not capped, and as a result the game has created some of the biggest lottery winners in Australia. The Powerball jackpot has reached $100 million on more than one occasion, helping to set new records for Australian lottery prizes. Find out more about the biggest Powerball winners below.
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A run of eight rollovers created a new record ahead of the draw on 19 September, as the jackpot rocketed from $100 million the previous week to a sensational $150 million. With around one in two Australian adults taking part in the draw, the high demand for ticket sales resulted in three players sharing the top prize.
One of the winning entries belonged to a man from Sydney in New South Wales, who had played online. He revealed that he only decided to buy a ticket ‘because everyone else was’. The other two winners came from Queensland. One, from Brisbane, purchased his entry from Mater News Central on Stanley Street and said he spent the whole night awake after the draw. He said he would spend the money on building a new home and travelling the world. The remaining $50 million went to a ticket holder from Ipswich.
The jackpot was split two ways, as one ticket from New South Wales and another from Western Australia matched all the numbers. The New South Wales winner was an unregistered player so could not be tracked down straight away, but he quickly came forward to claim it. He had bought his ticket from a newsagents in Coffs Harbour and said he would use the money to look after his family, and buy a red sports car!
The other $63 million went to a retail syndicate from Kalgoorlie, consisting of around 200 players. One of the first to claim their share was a school worker and mum, who had been living pay-check to pay-check. She said her neighbour was also a winner so the first thing she would do was fill up their car so they could get to Perth to cash in their ticket.
This was the highest Powerball jackpot ever offered at the time the draw took place, and there were three ticket holders who matched all the winning numbers. One of the winners came from New South Wales, one from South Australia and one from Victoria, with each player taking home more than $36 million.
The first winner to be given the good news by lottery officials was a man from Adelaide, who intended to use the money to take his extended family around the world and thought he might quit his job. The second winner, a mother from Sydney, had no plans to give up her work in medical research, insisting she would use the money ‘in a meaningful way’. The final winning ticket belonged to a couple from Victoria, who said they felt as though they had already won the lottery with their family.
A mother from Sydney wrote her name into the Powerball record books when she matched all the numbers in a draw that captured the imagination of the whole country, with one in two Australian adults thought to have taken part. The estimated jackpot of $100 million was bumped up to over $107 million, such was the demand for tickets, and the increased number of entries meant there was a lengthy delay until the results were announced and the lucky winner was told the incredible news.
The woman, in her 40s, had purchased a 12-game entry online after making a spur-of-the-moment decision to play the day before the draw. She initially thought she had won $107,000, which she described as ‘amazing’, before insisting that she would put the money to good use. She planned to share it with her family, give her favourite charity a ‘whole slab of money’ and do all the things she had always wanted, such as travelling and buying a caravan. The winner, who decided to stay anonymous, added that she would not be retiring from her job as a healthcare professional.
Lottery fever gripped Australia in August 2018 as the Powerball jackpot climbed to $100 million for the first time. Long queues formed outside newsagencies around the country as players flocked to buy last-minute tickets. In the end, the record-equalling jackpot was split between two tickets, with each taking home an impressive $50 million. There was a wait to find out about the winners, however, after lottery websites crashed due to the inundation of players trying to check their numbers. It was estimated that one in three people in Australia took part in the draw.
It was eventually revealed that one of the tickets was bought in the Canterbury-Bankstown region of southwest Sydney, and the other was purchased through a lottery app by a man from Melbourne. Speaking to lottery officials after the win, the Melbourne winner, who remained anonymous, said: “I’m going to do the right thing. This win is life-changing. I’m going to look after my whole family – invest money in property and shares. It will make a massive difference to a lot of people.” The winner from Sydney claimed his prize two days after the draw, saying: “Oh yeah mate, I’m in a bit of shock to be honest! It's just been in my wallet the whole time. I’m guarding this ticket with my life.”
A middle-aged father from North Melbourne revelled in his remarkable change of fortunes after winning $80 million. He had recently lost his job in one of the city’s coronavirus lockdowns after buying a house shortly before that, so he admitted time had been extremely tough.
But the ticket he purchased online proved to be a perfect match for the winning numbers on 12 August and he vowed to use the money to set his children up for life. He said: “I am going to try and help everyone. There’s so much we will be able to do with this prize. It will change so many people’s lives.”
This $80 million jackpot was split two ways. The first winner was a woman from Campbelltown in New South Wales, who was not a regular player and had only decided to buy a ticket because her grandson had told her earlier in the week that ‘Grandma’s going to win the lotto’.
The other winning ticket was also sold in New South Wales but the lucky player could not be tracked down straight away because the phone number he had provided on his registered account was incorrect, with one digit wrong. He finally checked his ticket a few days later and was able to come forward, describing it as a ‘whirlwind’ of emotions.
A married couple from Dromana became the biggest lottery winners from the state of Victoria when they claimed this $80 million jackpot. It wasn’t immediately obvious after the draw who had won, as the ticket holder was not a registered player. But the lucky husband and wife came forward after checking their entry a couple of days later.
The couple, from the Mornington Peninsula, bought their entry at Dromana Authorised Newsagency, 177 Point Nepean Road, Dromana, and kept the ticket in bed with them until it could be verified. As they won the jackpot in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, they were just focused on getting through the crisis before starting to enjoy the money.
A man from Port Macquarie in New South Wales revealed that he felt ‘overwhelmed’ after landing this huge prize – the third-largest to go to an individual in Australian lottery history. Having battled droughts for years and been affected by bushfires months earlier, his big win arrived at a time when he was self-isolating like many others during the coronavirus outbreak.
The winner, who decided to stay anonymous, played online and discovered his good fortune when he checked his emails the next morning. He found the news difficult to digest but said he could not wait to share his money with his family. He also set his sights on one particular purchase to help him enjoy his retirement. “I’ll be able to upgrade my TV! I’ve always wanted a satellite TV to get better stations,” he said, insisting that he would manage to celebrate despite the restrictions in place around Australia. He joked: “Actually, I’ve been socially isolating since I retired so I’m pretty good at it.”
Until 2018, $80 million was the largest prize ever offered in Australia’s Powerball. Two ticket holders – one from Melbourne and one from Sydney – shared the jackpot, each taking home $40 million. The winner from Sydney was initially sceptical that she had won, especially as she received an email notification about it. “I saw there was an email to contact NSW Lotteries but I didn’t think I could be that lucky,” she said. “I went on the internet to check my numbers and found out that I had won $40 million.” The winner chose to remain anonymous, but did say that she planned to invest some of the money and donate to charity.
The other winner was from Melbourne and also chose to remain anonymous. It was revealed, however, that he was a married man in his 50s. He said: “It's something you think might happen but you never actually believe it will happen to you. It still hasn't sunk in yet. We'll take our time to think about it and won't be rushing into anything. We'll help out the kids a bit.”