On Tuesday, Powerball announced that the already-historic jackpot for its Wednesday night drawing had jumped to $1.5 billion. A day later, lottery officials said the jackpot would jump to $2 billion if there aren't any winners.
The jump in the jackpot's advertised value is largely based on sales projections, says Lee Park, spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission. The figures have spiked rapidly as each successive lottery drawing garners increased public attention; the advertised jackpot on Dec. 12 was $164 million, but a month later, it stands at $1.5 billion.
The advertised jackpot represents the estimated total annuitized grand prize. That's opposed to the cash prize, which stood at $929.9 million on Wednesday.