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Powerball jackpot balloons to $360 million

Chris O'meara / AP, file

This Nov. 28, 2012, file photo shows a customer at a 7-Eleven convenience store with a Powerball ticket in Tampa, Fla.

A lucky winner could take home one of Powerball's largest jackpots on Wednesday night as the prize rose to an estimated $360 million dollars.

That makes it the third largest Powerball jackpot in at least a decade. Lottery officials have said that such stratospheric payouts will become more common as a result of a redesign last year. Those changes were intended to produce bigger jackpots faster, and raised the price of a ticket to $2.

“It usually took a handful of months, if not several months, for a jackpot to reach this large amount,” Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer told the Associated Press. “Now it’s achieving that within a handful of weeks. I think the redesign is achieving exactly what we had wanted it to achieve, which is the bigger, faster-growing jackpot.”

Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states. The biggest Powerball jackpot ever totaled $587.5 million and was split between two tickets on Nov. 28. New Jersey resident Pedro Quezada won the fourth largest Powerball prize ever in March, taking home a $338 million jackpot.

While odds of getting rich quick remain slim, more players are likely to take home a smaller prize by matching fewer numbers. And for those who miss tonight's jackpot can take consolation: the Mega Millions jackpot rolled over to $190 million Tuesday night. The next drawing of that game comes Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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