Record $500 million Powerball jackpot drives ticket-buying frenzy

Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:44pm IST

People with umbrellas walk past a sign advertising Powerball tickets at a newsstand in New York, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

People with umbrellas walk past a sign advertising Powerball tickets at a newsstand in New York, November 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Related Topics

REUTERS - 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.

(Reporting by Teresa Carson in Oregon,; Keith Coffman in Colorado,; Paul Ingram in Tucson and Jonathan Kaminsky in Washington state; Writing by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Vicki Allen)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Movie Reviews

Reuters Showcase

Alleged Spy Caught

Alleged Spy Caught

Arrested Indian accused of passing secrets to Pakistan's ISI  Full Article 

Mining Sector

Mining Sector

India to open coal to commercial mining firms soon, minister says  Full Article 

Uber in Delhi

Uber in Delhi

Uber back in Delhi; govt says must await approval  Full Article 

Coal Mining

Coal Mining

India to open coal to commercial mining firms soon, minister says  Full Article 

Saudi King

Saudi King

Obama, world leaders head to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

Dolly ki Doli is a breezy watch, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Obama's India Trip

Obama's India Trip

Obama to cut short India visit, fly to Saudi Arabia - sources  Full Article 

Inspired by Thackeray

Inspired by Thackeray

Shiv Sena stokes the anti-immigrant debate on celluloid  Full Article 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage