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Powerball $150m draw: Aussies agonisingly close to jackpot dismayed over 'unfair' prize

Have you ever won a lower Powerball division and thought is that all I won? Well if so, you're not alone.

Australia could have its first ever $150 million winner this Thursday.

We're nearing yet another mammoth Powerball draw, with half of all adults in the country expected to buy a ticket dreaming of a $150 million windfall.

That amount has never been won by a single player in Australian lottery history, and while we've had six weeks of no division one winners, plenty of cash prizes have been handed out since the current jackpot began rising last month.

The Lott made a point of noting this week that 29 people came agonisingly close to division one glory since mid-April, having matched all seven main numbers without the Powerball. For last week's $100 million draw, 10 people shared the near-$1.8 million division two prize pool to take home $179,000 each.


But there were dozens more who also matched seven numbers in the past six weeks and received much less. Division three is won by having six of the seven main balls plus the Powerball.

There were 192 people to win it last week, winning just over $11,500 each – a sliver of the division one prize despite missing just one ball.

Victorian resident Hung Ngo is a former division three winner and took home just more than $4,500 from the pool in February 2022 in an $80 million draw.

"It is not fair when you win six main numbers and a Powerball it counts as the third prize," the 59-year-old told Yahoo News Australia. "It should be more." And he's not alone with the feeling of disappointment despite a few extra thousand dollars in his pocket.

Hung was missing just one number, walking away with just a fraction of what the division one prize is.
Hung was missing just one number, walking away with just a fraction of what the division one prize was.

Last week Yahoo reported on Queensland renter Rob Brodie who also won division three and was just one digit away from sharing an $80 million jackpot in 2020. He too was dismayed with how much he walked away with and said he is still losing sleep over what could have been.

When asked about such sentiment, unsurprisingly a Lott spokesperson didn't address those concerns and instead pointed Yahoo to the in-depth official game rules of how the division prizes are divided up.

And while division two and division three both require seven of eight balls, the Powerball required for division three is easier to land than a main barrel number needed for division two. There are just 20 Powerball numbers that can be pulled while there are 35 in the main draw.

This means the odds of winning division two are just over 7 million to one, while division three odds are a fraction at 686,176 to one.

The Powerball has seen an increased number of weeks without a division one winner after the odds of winning were changed in 2018. The need to match a total of seven balls was pushed up to eight, meaning it is almost twice as hard to scoop the Division One prize, with the odds going from 76,767,600 to one to 134,490,400 to one.

According to The Lott's estimations of one in two adults taking part, this would mean Thursday's draw will bring in a minimum of $57.2 million from roughly 10.6 million people based on the cost of the requirement of at least four games to participate.

If on average there were 20 games per person, the equivalent number of tickets in a PowerHit entry, Thursday's draw would turn over $285,569,840. The Lott has previously remained tight-lipped on the exact number of tickets it sells, but the change to the odds in 2018 has undoubtedly boosted turnover.

It's worth noting the combined prizes offered each draw must be at least 60 per cent of ticket subscriptions.

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Yahoo Australia