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Powerball jackpot builds to $325M for Saturday

File - in this Sept. 27, 2012 file photo, a Powerball promotional check sits on the counter in the Casey's General Store, in Bondurant, Iowa. The jackpot for Powerball’s Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, drawing has climbed to $325 million, the fourth-largest in the game’s history. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

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Top 5 prizes in history

5. $314.9 million, Dec. 25, 2002; won by Andrew J. Whittaker Jr. of Teays Valley, W.Va., who opted for the cash value of $170.5 million

4. $325 million, Nov. 24; cash value is estimated at $213 million

3. $337 million, Aug. 15; Donald Lawson of Michigan opted for the cash value of $224.6 million

2. $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005; split by two Oregon families who chose the cash value of $164.4 million

1. $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006; shared by eight meatpacking plant workers in Nebraska

Source: Multi-State Lottery Association

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By Adam Brandolph
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 1:04 p.m.

Karen Moore spent most of Friday hoping she could put off Christmas shopping for at least another week.

Having a winning ticket for Saturday's $325 million Powerball drawing — the fourth-highest in the lottery's history — would alter her list significantly.

“That much money would make a lot of things easier, that's for sure,” Moore, 39, a mother of three from Frazer, said at the GetGo gas station in O'Hara. “It would answer a lot of prayers.”

A single winner choosing a cash payout would take home nearly $213 million before state and federal taxes, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball. The jackpot could rise even higher by Saturday's 11 p.m. drawing, depending on how many tickets are sold.

“Even if there's a one-in-a-billion chance to win, it's well worth it,” said David Colavecchio, 42, of Hempfield, who bought $20 worth of tickets at the BP gas station along McKnight Road in Ross. “We've all had dreams of what you'd do with the money if you won — how many houses or cars you'd buy, where you'd go on vacation, how you'd quit your job. But like they say, you can't win if you don't have a ticket.”

Powerball began in 1992 and is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands. The odds of hitting all five numbers and the Powerball are 1 in 175 million.

Since Powerball tickets doubled in price to $2 in January, the number of tickets sold has decreased, but sales revenue has made up for it, increasing by about 35 percent, said Norm Lingle, chairman of the Powerball board of directors.

As the price went up, so did the jackpots, enticing thousands across the country to play.

Saturday's jackpot has been building since an anonymous winner in Delaware hit for $50 million on Oct. 16 and an Iowa couple won $202 million the week before. There have been 14 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner.

Store clerks said they were not sure whether the holiday weekend helped ticket sales. They said they sold more than their usual number of tickets.

“A lot more people have come in for tickets, but I don't know if it's the large jackpot or because people are off for the holiday,” said Jim Gohil, a clerk at the Sunoco station along Perry Highway in West View.

Lingle, who also is executive director of the South Dakota Lottery, says this weekend will be “telling.”

“To my knowledge we've never had a large jackpot run like this fall over a major holiday,” he said.

Saturday's drawing is the largest since Aug. 15, when Donald Lawson, 44, of Michigan claimed his $337 million fortune. Lawson took the cash option, a lump sum of $224.6 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or

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