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Powerball frenzy boosts jackpot to $500 million

11 months 19 hours 53 minutes ago January 06, 2016 Jan 6, 2016 Wednesday, January 06 2016 January 06, 2016 11:25 AM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brock Sues, Russell Jones

BATON ROUGE - Lines at convenience stores throughout the state are sure to be a bit longer than usual as the already impressive Powerball grand prize has now climbed to $500 million.

After a consecutive 17th draw without a winner, the jackpot jumped again early Wednesday, boosting the previously $450 million prize. There hasn’t been a grand prize collected since Nov. 7, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Boosting the jackpot are people buying tickets who normally don't, a common trend in the Baton Rouge area. Lotto players on Wednesday told News 2 they normally don't buy in until the jackpot gets higher than normal, and those ticket purchases only drive the big prize, and the ensuing frenzy, higher.

Taking the cash payout would mean getting $306 million before taxes, instead of a annuity paid out over 29 years.

If someone wins Wednesday's drawing, it’ll be the fourth largest in Powerball history. Those odds now shape up to a 1-in-292.2 million chance for landing on all of the lucky numbers. Prior to the introduction of 10 white balls to the pool of numbers last October, the odds of winning were at least somewhat more likely with a 1 in 175 million chance.

News 2's Natalia Verdina spoke to people about what a difference that big payout would make in their lives. Her story is at 4, 5 and 6 on WBRZ.

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