Powerball jackpot rises to $550 million
The clock is ticking on a chance to buy a ticket for one of the richest jackpots in lottery history.
High-volume ticket sales have pushed the Powerball jackpot to a record $550 million for a winning ticket holder who selects payment in the form of an annuity. The lump sum cash prize is $360.2 million, according to state lottery officials.
Only the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot on March 30 was higher. The winner claimed a $471 million cash payment.
The sale of Powerball tickets — sold in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands — will end at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesday.
The drawing will be televised during WTAE-TV's 11 p.m. newscast. Other stations will announce the numbers drawn during their news programs.
As the drawing approaches, ticket sales have spiked.
At midday on Tuesday, players in Pennsylvania were buying $6,700 worth of tickets per minute.
As of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, would-be millionaires were scooping up tickets at a rate of $37,000 a minute, according to Gary Miller, a lottery spokesman.
Players pay $2 per ticket — or $1 more with the Powerplay option — and select five white balls from the first set of 59 numbers plus a single red ball, the Powerball, from a second set of 35 numbers.
Odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 175.2 million, which was lowered in January from 1 in 192 million.
The current Powerball jackpot run began on Oct. 6.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.