NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 18, 2013

Dreams for sale: Powerball jackpot hits $600 million

Drawing will be held tonight

(Continued)

But the big jackpots help, he said.

As of 12:30 p.m. yesterday, Powerball tickets in Massachusetts were selling at a rate of approximately $6,000 per minute, according to Lottery officials, and it was expected that lottery retailers will be selling as much as $24,000 in Powerball tickets a minute during peak hours leading up tonight’s drawing.

Lottery officials expect jackpot totals of this size to continue to climb in shorter amounts of time, thanks in part to a game redesign in January 2012 that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize, but also lowered the possible number combinations to win the Powerball. That’s also when the price of a ticket rose from $1 to $2.

The redesign means players don’t necessarily have to strike it big to get lucky. The $1 increase and new $1 million and $2 million prizes means the odds of winning something have increased. On Wednesday, $1 million prizes were won in 16 states, and $2 million prizes were won in two states.

In fact, more than half of the all-time jackpot records have been reached in the last three years. The top two all-time jackpots — $656 million from a Mega Millions jackpot and $587.5 million from a Powerball jackpot — were achieved in 2012.

The last major jackpot win came when a New Jersey man won a $338.3 million jackpot on March 23. It is now considered the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history.

Another reason for projected high Powerball jackpots is the entrance of in the game of California, which as a population of about 38 million people. California sold $83 million worth of Powerball tickets since it started selling them in April and overall has accounted for 11 percent of the game’s sales in the country, fueling such fast-growing mega-jackpots like the latest one that has the potential to be a record-breaker.

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