UK & World News

  • 29 November 2012, 6:09

Powerball Jackpot Of $580m As Ticket Sales Soar

The top prize in America's biggest lottery reached a staggering $580m (362m) before the draw was made.

The jackpot has rolled over 16 times already - and tickets sold at the astonishing rate of 130,000 per minute in the run-up.

It is the largest Powerball jackpot ever and the second largest lottery top prize of all time, eclipsed only by the $656m Mega Millions record set in March.

A single winner choosing the cash payout will take home $360.2m before taxes.

Khanh Nguien in Atlanta, Georgia, said the jackpot would give the winner "a lot" of opportunities.

"I would be paying off my house. I'd be giving it to my charity, and then I'd give it to my family. It's a lot of things. I could use it now."

One ticket-holder in New York said: "All the money, I'm going to give it to some charity, for this Hurricane Sandy."

However, the chance of the numbers on their ticket matching those on the five white balls and one red ball drawn on the night are slim.

The odds of scooping the jackpot are 1 in 175.22 million, according to the Wisconsin Lottery.

There has been no Powerball winner since October 6. The jackpot was first posted at $425m on Monday but revised upward as brisk sales increased the payout.

Powerball officials say they believe there is a 75% chance that the winning combination of numbers will be drawn.

The previous top Powerball prize was $365m (228m) in 2006 which was won by a group of food workers in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The game is played in all but a handful of US states.

Robert Armstrong said after buying a ticket in Atlanta, Georgia: "I think it's just a thrill and the excitement of having the possibility of even winning. It's a small amount of money to pay for the opportunity to get into the pool."

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