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U.S. Powerball lottery jackpot snowballs past $400 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The expected jackpot in the U.S. lottery Powerball has surpassed $400 million for one of the few times in its history ahead of the next drawing on Wednesday night.

The prize money grew to some $403 million after there were no winners in Saturday's drawing, lottery officials said.

Powerball's jackpot hit a record $1.6 billion in January 2016, when there were three winning tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. The game and a second major U.S. lottery, Mega Millions, have exceeded $400 million only a handful of other times.

The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 292 million.

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Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Players can buy the $2 tickets with their own numbers, or have the numbers randomly generated by a computer.

The next drawing is scheduled for 10:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday and the winner would receive annual payments over 29 years or $243.9 million in a lump sum payment, before taxes.

Half of Powerball sales goes to prizes, 40 percent to state governments for items such as education and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and for other administrative costs.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

 
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