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A sign at a store advertises the Powerball Lottery in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 17, 2013. Powerball officials say the jackpot has climbed to an estimated $600 million, making it the largest prize in the game's history and the world's second largest lottery prize. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Powerball: $600 Million!



DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Less than 10 months after three tickets split a world-record lottery prize, the jackpot for Saturday's Powerball drawing was nearing historic territory once again.
 
Should nobody pick the correct six numbers, the prize money will roll over to next week's drawing and almost certainly eclipse the $656 million doled out to winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland in the Mega Millions game in March 2012.
 
But the record could fall Saturday night too if a flurry of last-minute ticket purchases pushes the jackpot much

Top 10 World Record Jackpots

The Powerball jackpot for Saturday night's drawing has climbed to $600 million, the largest in that game's history and closing in on the largest lottery jackpot of all time. Here's a look at the top 10 world record lottery jackpots.
 
1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
 
2. Estimated $600 million, Powerball, (drawing scheduled for Saturday, May 18; jackpot could grow)
 
3. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)
 
4. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)
 
5. $380.0 million, Mega Millions, Jan. 4, 2011 (2 tickets from Idaho and Washington)
 
6. $365.0 million, Powerball, Feb. 18, 2006 (1 ticket from Nebraska)
 
7. $363.0 million, The Big Game, May 9, 2000 (2 tickets from Illinois and Michigan)
 
8. $340.0 million, Powerball, Oct. 19, 2005 (1 ticket from Oregon)
 
9. $338.3 million, Powerball, March 23, 2013 (1 ticket from New Jersey)
 
10. $337.0 million, Powerball, Aug. 15, 2012 (1 ticket from Michigan)
above its current $600 million level. Since the previous drawing on Wednesday, it had grown by at least $236 million.
 
"If there was no chance, you wouldn't do it," said New Jersey attorney Rubin Sinins, who represented five construction workers who claimed a colleague cheated them out of a share of a multimillion-dollar lottery jackpot.
 
It seems simple enough: Just correctly pick five white balls out of a drum of 59 and one red one out of a drum of 35.
 
However, the odds of a single $2 ticket hitting the correct combination are about 1 in 175.2 million. That's slightly less likely than randomly drawing the name of one specific female in the United States: 1 in 157 million, according to the last census.
 
With such an astronomic payoff available for the lucky ticket holder, some buyers are content to settle for just a share of the winnings.
 
In Houston, city firefighter John Paetow and a dozen of his colleagues kicked in $10 each for the drawing, as they do occasionally when a the stakes soar into the lottery stratosphere.
 
"With firemen it's a camaraderie thing," said Paetow, 59. "It just makes sense to pool our money; it buys more tickets, gives us a better chance of winning."
 
Even if Saturday's drawing doesn't top last year's Mega Millions jackpot, it's already the highest in Powerball history, surpassing that game's $587.5 million record set in November 2012.
 
A major reason for the sales surge is that last month, Powerball landed the nation's most populous state as California joined 42 others that offer the game. California lottery director Robert O'Neill said the state had brought "sunshine and good fortune" to Powerball.
 
The Multi-State Lottery Association conducts the drawing live Saturday night from Tallahassee, Fla. The balls are weighed and X-rayed, and there are practice runs before the official televised version.

05/18/2013 6:10AM
Powerball: $600 Million!
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