Texans hope to win a record $600 million Powerball jackpot

Posted Saturday, May. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Top 10 World Record Lottery Jackpots The Powerball jackpot jumped Friday to $600 million. 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. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri) 3. Estimated $550 million, Powerball, (drawing scheduled for Saturday, May 18; jackpot could grow) 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) Source: The Associated Press

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Kimmie Westley had a lucky feeling.

So she went with a friend to buy one ticket for tonight’s estimated $600 million Powerball drawing.

“It’s kind of like being in Las Vegas,” said Westley of Parker County fantasizing about the jackpot that awaits someone.

She and Ann Bornschlegal of Fort Worth decided to take their chances and join the countless other hopefuls flocking to convenience stores in Texas and nationwide this week, buying tickets for the largest Powerball jackpot in history.

Officials say the jackpot — the second largest lottery jackpot ever — will likely keep growing before tonight’s drawing, and could well become the biggest in history.

It began as a $40 million prize on April 3 but has grown as it has gone 12 draws without a jackpot winner.

“It’s so high it made me want to buy,” Bornschlegal said. “Why not? It’s fun.”

Both Westley and Bornschlegal say they would want to travel, retire and share their winnings with their family if they were to hit the big jackpot.

But officials say the jackpot likely will be more than $600 million by the time of the drawing tonight. It has already broken the Powerball November 2012 record of $587.5 million.

Officials say California players are helping drive up the jackpot, because the Golden State just joined Powerball in April, and sales have been surging. That state alone has sold more than $83 million in Powerball tickets in the past month.

If there’s no winner tonight, Texas Lottery Commission officials say the jackpot on Wednesday will be at least $925 million.

Powerball is a multistate lottery that began in 1992; Texas joined in 2010. Since joining the game, Texas has not had a Powerball jackpot prize winner, according to the Texas Lottery Commission.

Players win by correctly matching five numbers from a field of 59 — as well as the Powerball number, which players choose from 35 numbers — on a $2 ticket.

Players who match all the numbers except for the Powerball win $1 million, or $2 million if they purchase a $1 add on Power Play feature.

Tickets will be sold until 9 p.m. for the drawing that will be conducted at 9:59 p.m.

The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 175,223,510. The odds of winning any prize are one in 32, according to the lottery commission.

Sales have been growing locally for the drawing, said Ricky Kamaria, who works at Mr. Jake’s Food Mart in Fort Worth.

“They feel lucky here and say they want to buy tickets here,” he said Friday afternoon.

And ticket sales that usually ranged from $2 to $10 per person have gone up to $100, $200 or $500, especially since a lot of people are playing together with coworkers, family and friends, he said.

Even Kamaria bought a few tickets — $10 worth.

But he insisted that he actually hopes someone else wins.

“I would rather see someone more needy win,” he said. “I have a job. Some people don’t. If I do win, I would donate $1 million to people in need.”

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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