Powerball Jackpot of $600 million largest in history

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powerball1Dueling Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots are giving many in San Diego two chances to strike it rich Friday and Saturday.

Powerball officials say the jackpot has climbed to an estimated $600 million, making it the largest prize in the game’s history and the world’s second largest lottery prize.

California began Powerball sales in April and “…full-blown lotto fever,” is expected by Greg Parashak, spokesman for the California Lottery. Long lines are anticipated prior to the next drawing on Saturday, May 18. Parashak added, “We’ve just been on this for a little over a month, so it’s pretty safe to say we expect record sales between now and Saturday.”

Powerball tickets cost $2, while a Mega Millions are a single dollar. Lottery officials say the Powerball prize has grown by around $236 million since the last drawing.

The probability of winning the Powerball jackpot is about 1 chance in 175 million.powerball2

“This is the point where people who don’t normally play or maybe even aren’t familiar with the lottery go out and buy a ticket,” says Andi Brancato, director of public relations for the Michigan Lottery. He noted that sales usually peak on the day of the drawing, and many buyers take the chance to buy one more ticket while they are out on Saturday mornings.

“Powerball was redesigned to have larger jackpots more often, but it was also changed to create lots of millionaires, and it’s succeeding on both levels,” says Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. The changes bettered the odds to win a single jackpot, and lessened the number of matched numbers needed to win.

Tickets need to be checked carefully even if the grand prize isn’t won, as the “lesser” amounts may be up to $2 million. Brancato said, “Even if you don’t win the jackpot, you may have a winning ticket.”

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