(POWERBALL logo over ticket purchase, AP)
DES MOINES (AP) -- With almost $450 million on the line, the nearly nationwide lottery Powerball game picked a set of winning numbers Wednesday: 05, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32.
And three tickets - one sold in Minnesota and two in New Jersey - matched Wednesday's winning numbers, Sue Dooley, senior drawing manager production coordinator for the Multi-State Lottery Association, said late Wednesday night. She said it wasn't yet clear exactly where the tickets had been sold or who the winners were.
Lottery officials estimated the jackpot at $448 million. The allure of all that money had players in a buying frenzy Wednesday, further confirming a trend that lottery officials say has become the big ticket norm: Fatigued Powerball players, increasingly blasé about smaller jackpots, often don't get into the game until the jackpot offers big bucks.
Meghan Graham, a convenience store worker from Brookline, Mass., has purchased nearly a dozen Powerball tickets in recent months thanks to the huge jackpots, and the third-largest-ever pot was enough reason to buy again.
"The more it keeps increasing, that means nobody is winning ... a lot of people are gonna keep buying tickets and tickets and tickets and you never know, you just might get lucky if you pick the right numbers," she said.
A recent game change intended to build excitement about the lottery increased the frequency of huge jackpots, and Wednesday's jackpot drawing comes only a few months after the biggest Powerball jackpot in history - a $590 million pot won in Florida.
With a majority of the top 10 Powerball jackpots being reached in the past five years, lottery officials acknowledge smaller jackpots don't create the buzz they once did.
"We certainly do see what we call jackpot fatigue," said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. "I've been around a long time, and remember when a $10 million jackpot in Illinois brought long lines and people from surrounding states to play that game."
Tom Romero, CEO of the New Mexico Lottery and chairman of the Powerball Group, agreed.
"Many years ago, $100 million was really exciting and people would immediately buy more, occasional players would start buying," he said. "Then the threshold was $200 million. Now, we see here in New Mexico, we're approaching the $300 million mark."
The revamp of Powerball in January 2012 changed the price of a ticket from $1 to $2, a move that upped the chances of the game reaching a major jackpot. There was a loss in the number of players, but the new game - which also created more chances to win smaller, $1 million and $2 million prizes - has brought in 52% more in sales, Strutt said. Sales were $5.9 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June.