One lucky winner in Washington just scored a $747 million Powerball jackpot, but an even bigger winner in California is still out there.
It’s been three months since lottery officials announced a Powerball ticket worth $2.04 billion had been sold at a convenience store in Altadena. California lottery officials have yet to confirm a winner has claimed the prize.
The Powerball jackpot reached the world record-setting size in November after 41 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner (and a suspenseful drawing-night delay prompted by technical issues).
While the owner of the Altadena convenience store has already received his $1 million prize for selling the ticket, it’s unclear if the ticketholder has claimed their winnings.
In California, as in most states, a lottery jackpot winner has a year to claim their prize. That means the winner of the $2.04 billion jackpot – with a cash value of $997.6 million – still has roughly 270 days to come forward.
Even if the winner came forward today, it could still be a while before the winner is minted.
But, if the jackpot remains unclaimed until November, participating lotteries will receive their portion of the prize’s cash value built by their ticket sales, according to the game’s website. Jurisdictions then distribute the funds based on local rules or laws.
In California, for example, funds would support public schools and colleges, according to Carolyn Becker, deputy director of public affairs and communications for the state lottery. Schools already received $156.3 million from ticket sales while the jackpot was building, making it the largest contribution to education generated from one rolling sequence in the California Lottery’s history.
If the Powerball jackpot were to go unclaimed, it would go from the largest U.S. lottery prize to the largest unclaimed U.S. lottery prize, a list the record-setting $1.337 billion Mega Millions jackpot hit in Illinois last summer nearly joined.
The $2.04 billion jackpot may also stand as the only Powerball jackpot to be hit on Election Day as drawings are held each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.