What you need to know about the record $1.5 billion Powerball drawing
More than $600 million in Powerball tickets were expected to sell Wednesday in the hours before the drawing worth an estimated $1.5 billion, the largest jackpot in world lottery history. Here's what you need to know ahead of the big game:
RUNAWAY TICKET SALES
Nationwide, ticket sales were running nearly double the $326.5 million in tickets sold Tuesday, according to Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and chairman of the Powerball game for the Multi-State Lottery Association that oversees Powerball.
Each ticket sells for $2.
Since the last winning draw in early November, $2.65 billion in Powerball tickets have been sold nationwide, he said.
WHEN WINNERS WILL BE KNOWN
After the winning numbers are drawn, it will probably take several hours to determine whether there are any jackpot winners and how many, Grief said. It could take longer to figure out where any of those winning tickets were sold.
A RECORD JACKPOT
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4. Since no one has won, the prize keeps growing, along with ticket sales in the 44 participating states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The jackpot estimate is reviewed daily, and the odds of winning are a mere 1 in 292.2 million.
STATES THAT DON'T PLAY
Six states have no lotteries of any kind. Religious beliefs have posed a barrier in Alabama, Mississippi and Utah. Alaska has been more concerned that a lottery wouldn't pay off in such a sparsely populated state. In Hawaii, lawmakers have proposed lottery measures, but the idea always fails. And in Nevada, the lottery snub is largely a nod to the state's casinos, which have no interest in the competition.
THE QUEST FOR TICKETS
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, reports that some of the biggest ticket sales come from border cities. That means residents of states without Powerball are driving to neighboring states to play the lottery and probably spending money on gas, soda or snacks in the process.
For instance, some Nevada residents have been traveling through the desert to California and waiting in line for hours for a chance to win. Other lottery players enlist an out-of-state friend to buy tickets.