Powerball Jackpot rises to $550 million

Ken Norris is just one of many people playing PowerBall today with the jackpot up to $550 million. (Todd Corillo)

Ken Norris is just one of many people playing PowerBall today with the jackpot up to $550 million. (Todd Corillo)

By AnneClaire Stapleton

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wednesday’s Powerball drawing could be one for the history books, with the jackpot rising to a record $550 million.

The prize for last Saturday’s Powerball was $325 million — the fourth-largest in the game’s history. For the 15th consecutive time, no players matched the winning numbers, which were 22, 32, 37, 44, 50 and Powerball 34.

The top prize now increases to an estimated $550 million, the largest in the history of the multi-state lottery game. The figure has risen in recent days as more people than expected bought tickets, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
In 2006, the game handed out its largest prize to date — $365 million — to eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant.

The Powerball is held in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The prize is still short of the U.S. record lottery payout of $656 million, set in March by a Mega Millions jackpot that was split between three winners.

For all the excitement surrounding Wednesday’s drawing, gamblers are better off trying their luck elsewhere.

Research shows that the lottery pays out at one of the lowest rates among commercial gambling games. The odds of winning the top prize in Wednesday’s drawing? One in 175 million.

– CNNMoney’s James O’Toole contributed reporting.

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