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Powerball jackpot to hit at least $500 million on Wednesday

Wednesday's drawing is making headlines as millions buy tickets in hope of winning the giant jackpot. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

The Powerball jackpot is set to increase to about $500 million for the next drawing, the largest jackpot ever for the game.

The top prize will be up for grabs Wednesday after there was no winner in Saturday's drawing. The unlucky numbers were 22-32-37-44-50, and the Powerball was 34.

According to The Associated Press, Powerball officials said huge ticket sales nationally pushed the payout higher. A single winner choosing the cash payout will take home $327 million before taxes.


Record jackpots encourage players who usually sit on the sidelines to play and group purchases from work pools increase.

The jackpot is the largest ever for the Powerball game and the second largest lottery jackpot of all time, eclipsed only by the $656 million Mega Millions record set in March.

Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said the jackpot could go even higher than the estimated $425 million because sales tend to increase in the days before record drawings. Tickets have to be purchased by 8:59 p.m. Wednesday to enter the drawing.

The previous top Powerball prize was $365 million, The AP said, which was won in 2006 by ConAgra Foods Workers in Lincoln, Neb. The Powerball lottery is played in 42 states, Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands.

The MegaMillions lottery holds the record for the biggest payout in U.S. history. In June, the prize hit $640 million and the winnings were shared among three ticket holders.

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