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More money! Powerball pot at $550 million; California may soon join

November 28, 2012|By Joseph Serna

Just as Powerball officials announced that the record multistate jackpot has swelled to $550 million, dejected Californians may soon have a chance to get in on the game---albeit not in time for the big Wednesday night drawing.

At their Thursday meeting, the California State Lottery Commission is expected to adopt regulations to join 42 other states that participate in the Powerball lottery. California retailers could begin selling the $2 tickets in 2013.

Excitement over Powerball has reached a fever pitch across the nation this week, with last-minute ticket buying enriching the jackpot. There hasn’t been a winner since Oct. 6, causing the jackpot to roll over 16 times.

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Powerball

Powerball’s jackpot increases at least $10 million every time it rolls over, according to lottery officials.

To play Powerball, a participant must pick five unique numbers from a field of one through 59, and a Powerball number from one through 35. The Powerball number can be the same as any of the first five numbers.

The odds of winning are 1 in 175,223,510. The drawing is scheduled for 7:59 p.m. PST in Orlando, Fla. Drawings are every Wednesday and Saturday.

Winners can take a single lump-sum payment or annual payments over 30 years.

According to the agenda for the commission’s Thursday meeting, joining Powerball would bring in an additional $90 million to $120 million in sales to California, even with an expected drop off in SuperLotto Plus and MegaMillions sales. Lotto revenue helps supplement education spending in California.

The Lottery Commission actually agreed to join Powerball in September but is delaying final approval until the game’s agency – the Multistate Lottery Assn. – proposed regulations exclusive to play in California.

While the jackpot – hitting all five numbers plus the Powerball number – is accumulated by the participating states, every prize below that in California would be based only on the amount of tickets sold within the state.

In 2005, California joined the MegaMillions lotto, which set a record jackpot in April with a $656-million grand prize split among three winners.

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