Millions of Powerball players were disappointed Wednesday night when none of them hit the $193.5 million jackpot — but the next drawing could be worth nearly $300 million.
Joe Mahoney of the Multi-State Lottery Association said Thursday that while no one won the jackpot, more than one million people will get prizes for matching some of the winning numbers: 2-28-30-36-39 and Powerball 10.
Officials guess that Saturday's drawing will be at least $280 million, Mahoney said.
"And that's a conservative estimate at this point," he said.
Around the country, people had snapped up tickets Wednesday in hopes of hitting the jackpot, despite odds of only 1 in 80 million. The game is played in Washington, D.C., and 21 states.
A direct line with God didn't help the Rev. Clarence Dameron, who had figured his odds of winning the jackpot were a little better than those of the average player.
"The Lord knows my heart," he said as he stood in line for lottery tickets at a Des Moines convenience store. "I could do a lot for the Lord. ... I would do so much for this community. Everyone would be happy."
Another disappointed hopeful, Jane Baker, a Des Moines retiree, said before the drawing that she only needed $5 million and would give the rest to charities and universities. The odds, she said, are "really about the same as getting struck by lightning."
"But I think the outcome is better," she added.
In Missouri, about 500 lottery sales machines were out of service for more than five hours Wednesday because a telephone line was cut. The outage affected all machines in Springfield and scattered locations elsewhere, Missouri Lottery spokesman Susan Goedde said.
The biggest Powerball jackpot ever is the $295.7 million won in 1998 by a group of factory workers in Ohio. The richest lottery prize in U.S. history is the $363 million Big Game jackpot, won last year by two players in Illinois and Michigan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.