The Powerball jackpot is $500 million after many players boosted the lottery's prize money. Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, believes there's a 60 percent chance the prize will be won this time.
The Powerball jackpot, now swollen to half a billion dollars, has broken the record for the highest lottery payout in history for the game. Before Tuesday's announcement that raised the stakes, the biggest jackpot was in 2006, when a group of ConAgra Foods workers in Nebraska won $365 million.
Even though there is only a 1 in 175 million chance of winning, many officials like Strutt think the long quest to win the Powerball jackpot- this one has been building since Oct. 3- will probably come to an end with Wednesday's drawing, according to the Associated Press. Originally, the payout for Wednesday's drawing Nov. 28 was $425 million, but because of the intense interest of the game and the huge pot, that number has increased significantly.
Now, the fervor over the tickets has reached its peak. Although the Powerball lottery is only played in 42 U.S. states, many in places like Alabama, Nevada and Utah are crossing state lines to get in on the chance to play.
"I think it's just going to keep ballooning because everybody wants to be in on this kind of excitement," Judy Drucker, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery, told NJ.com. "It's crazy kind of money."
The $2 chance of a lifetime also entices people to play; despite the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, sales numbers were strong, according to Iowa Lottery representative May Neubauer.
"It's a fairly cheap purchase, and people see winning the large jackpot as a dream come true," Ed Van Petten, executive director of the Minnesota State Lottery, told USA Today.
The elusive numbers for the last drawing were 22-32-37-44-50, with a Powerball of 34. The jackpot has rolled over 16 times so far without being won.