PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – 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.
Lottery officials say the prize is growing quickly Friday because so many people have been purchasing the $2 tickets. The jackpot has grown by an estimated $236 million since the last drawing on Wednesday.
The last jackpot was won on March 30, so it’s been growing for about six weeks. The next drawing is Saturday night.
And there is absolutely no doubt about what is sending players reaching into their wallets.
“I heard it was like $550 million,” said Davy Jones, of Homestead.
KDKA’s John Shumway: “How about $600 million?”
Jones: “Oh wow, that’s even a better reason to play.”
That’s just the Powerball. Tonight’s Mega Millions lottery is sitting at $190 million.
Payouts like that are good business for the Pennsylvania Lottery because it attracts the sometime player.
To attract those occasional players more often, a year and a half ago, Powerball was adjusted to create bigger odds and drive the jackpots up faster.
And when the numbers are dancing north of $600 million, dreams seem doable.
“Probably do something great in the community for the kids,” said Linda Black, of Braddock.
“Probably invest half of it, and donate a lot of it, and give my mom money since she’s paying for my school,” T.J. Mavrovic, of Ross Township.
“Probably not work anymore, take a long vacation, pay off the bills, church, college – that kind of stuff ,” added Randy Brockington, of Penn Hills.
The largest jackpot ever was a $656 million Mega Millions prize won in March 2012. The prize was split three ways with winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are about 1 in 175 million.
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