Powerball Frenzy Fueled by $550 Million Jackpot

Everybody’s talking about it – the staggering $550 million Powerball jackpot and what they would do with it. It’s the second-highest Powerball jackpot in history and the third highest lottery jackpot ever.

The chance to win hundreds of millions of dollars led Megan Cheek of Prairie Village to purchase her very first Powerball ticket at Kelly’s Express in Topeka. Cheek just graduated from college and knows exactly how she would celebrate if she won.

“I’d pay off all my student loans and take my family on a nice big trip!” said Cheek.

“There’s so much you could do with it,” Henry Kaminski of Kansas City told Lottery officials. “I’d do a lot with the churches and give money to help people. I’d help my family – the whole nine yards.”

Mary Elwood of Marquette echoed some of that sentiment, “I would do a lot of good with it, help the homeless and feed the hungry.”

The clerks at Kelly Express said business has been very brisk and they expect to get even busier later today and tomorrow.

“We are selling tickets like crazy!” said Brady Fitzgerald, a Kelly Express employee.

Fitzgerald said they are not only selling tons of Powerball, but also Mega Millions. The Mega Millions jackpot for tonight (May 17) stands at $190 million.

Fitzgerald says many players promise to “remember them” if they win. “They say they’ll remember us, but they won’t,” Fitzgerald laughed.

The cash option on the $550 million Powerball jackpot would be $350.1 million. If a Kansas player were to be the sole winner and take the cash option, he or she would receive $245 million after taxes. The winner would pay $87.5 million in initial federal withholding and $17.5 million in state withholding at the time of the claim.

The cash option on the $190 million Mega Millions jackpot would be $140.9 million. A Kansas winner of that jackpot would have “take home” of $98.6 million, after paying $35.2 million in federal withholding and $7 million in state withholding.