Lottery officials with the multi-state Powerball game have raised the expected total for tomorrow night's jackpot to $600 million, the largest in the game's history. And with more than 24-hours left for people to keep pouring money into the prize pool, it could still threaten the all-time record for the biggest lottery prize ever, a $656 million Mega Millions prize split between three winners just last year.
If you think these lottery "super jackpots" seem to be getting larger these days, you're not crazy. The game was redesigned into 2012, increasing the odds of winning for smaller prizes, but requiring ticket buyers to spend $2 for every ticket. That's allowed the main jackpot to increase much faster than it did in the past. Also, Powerball has also added even more states to the nationwide game, including California, which joined just last month. There are now 42 states that participate, but not Nevada ... which is why resident drive to the California border to stand in line for hours.
Plus, when the numbers start to get this big, the frenzy feeds on itself to push the final total even higher in the closing hours. Saturday's prize has already jumped more than $100 million from its initial estimate on Thursday morning, when Wednesday's drawing ended without a winner. The biggest Powerball jackpot ever was a $587.5 million prize last November, and just two months ago, a single ticket in New Jersey took home $338 million.
And if you're worried that all that ticket buying makes it likely that you'll have to split the pot with someone else, you can always try your hand at the Mega Millions. Tonight's drawing is worth $190 million.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.