Record $500 million Powerball jackpot drives ticket-buying frenzy

People line up to buy Powerball tickets from a newsstand inside Grand Central Station.

Dreams of vast riches from a record Powerball jackpot of at least half-a-billion dollars drove enthusiastic ticket-buying across the United States ahead of the Wednesday night draw, and continued heavy sales could nudge the payout higher, authorities said.

Powerball has not had a winner for two months, and the pot has already grown by nearly $175 million due to brisk ticket sales after no one won the top prize in Saturday’s drawing.

The next draw for the prize on Wednesday night would dish out a whopping $327.4 million and counting if paid as a lump sum. Alternatively, the $500 million can be paid out in an annuity over three decades.

“It’s been crazy,” said Chris Lewis, manager of a 7-Eleven convenience store in Westminster, Colorado, that sold 2,000 tickets in 11 hours on Tuesday. “I’m worn out because it’s been so busy today. Amazing.”

Powerball is sold in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There have been nearly 300 jackpot winners over the past 20 years, taking home payouts of over $11.6 billion.

Among dreamers lining up at an Arizona grocery store in Tucson for a shot at Wednesday’s prize was metal shop worker Errol Simmons, 54, entrusted with a list of lucky numbers by a dozen or so co-workers.

“I’ve got to get this right,” he said as he checked through the list. “I don’t want to be the guy who lost us half a billion dollars because I couldn’t count.

“If we win, I’ll buy a new truck,” he said. “For each day of the week.”

Looking sharp in a blue pin striped suit, Portland, Oregon, financial adviser Aaron Pearson, 36, said he was taking care to pick his own numbers for the first time – although he was unsure what he would do with the huge jackpot should he win.

“I have no idea. I’d invest it and live off of it. I’d give to charities. I’d start a foundation,” he mused.

The chance of winning the jackpot are about one in 175 million, compared to about one in 280,000 for being struck by lightning.

Despite the long odds, the record payout has drawn interest from around the world, said Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, where Powerball is based. Lottery officials have received calls and emails from people outside the United States asking if they can buy a ticket from afar. They cannot.

“Sales across the country are just through the roof. It means lots of people are having fun with this, but it makes it difficult to keep up with the (jackpot) estimate.”

The previous top Powerball prize of $365 million was won in 2006 by ConAgra slaughterhouse workers in Nebraska.

In March, three winning tickets shared the largest U.S. lottery jackpot, the $656 million Mega Millions drawing.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…