A Powerball lottery ticket for a record $425 million is shown in a convenience store in Washington.(Photo: By Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
Powerball fever is raising the size of tonight's jackpot again - to at least $550 million.
less than 12 hours to go before drawing, the Multi-State Lottery
Association added at least $50 million to the jackpot. It stood at $325
million Saturday and rose to $500 million Tuesday, with hopefuls
snapping up $2 tickets at a rate of more than 100,000 a minute.
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MUSL director Chuck Strutt says today's sales will "easily" push the $550 million jackpot higher.
in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have
until about an hour before the drawing, scheduled for 10:59 ET. The
winning ticket is worth about $360 million after federal taxes.
Even past multi-millionaire lottery winners are gripped by Powerball
fever. Vietnamese immigrant Dung Tran - among eight Nebraska ConAgra
employees who split a $365 million jackpot in February 2006, was buying
in. He walked into the same Lincoln U-Stop he bought the winning ticket
six years ago, purchasing 22 tickets for tonight's drawing from the same
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"We joked about it, says cashier Janice Mitzner. "I told him, Wouldn't it be something if you won again?"
New Orleans' Discount City convenience store on South Claiborne Ave.,
hopefuls were asking for tickets at 4 a.m., four hours before the
store's Powerball machine is switched on, owner Rami Aj said. But a
bigger crush of customers is expected later this evening, he said.
the Mega Millions jackpot reached $656 million in February, lines
snaked out the door, says Ajsaid, who is adding a worker just to man
"Tonight will be really heavy," he said. "Everyone's talking about it."
Powell, 40, bought two tickets early. The school bus driver doesn't
usually play, but felt compelled by the high stakes jackpot. If she
wins, she'll take her three sons -ages 10 to 20 - on a Disney cruise and
travel to Paris and Japan.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance," Powell said.