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Powerball: Long lines as $600-million jackpot grows

May 18, 2013|By Kurt Streeter and Matt Stevens

Powerball fever continued Saturday as people purchased $2 tickets ahead of this evening's  Powerball draw that is expected to exceed $600 million.

WINNING NUMBERS: Powerball drawing

Lines were forming for much of the day at places with a history of lottery winners, including Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne.

Check out this line to buy #Powerball tickets in #California! Why this store?Story coming up @abcworldnews twitter.com/JohnSchriffen/…

The draw, scheduled to take place in Tallahassee, Fla., at 8 p.m. PDT, will offer the biggest jackpot since California entered the multi-state game last month.

And if it doesn’t produce a winner? “Extremely conservative estimates are that the next drawing, on Wednesday, would be for an estimated $925 million,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery. “This is uncharted territory.”  

By the early afternoon Saturday, tickets were selling at a pace of about 1.5 million per hour in California, officials said, with many people buying dozens of tickets at a time.

Traverso said he’d received reports of long lines at stores statewide and that, as expected, hopefuls were piling up outside outlets known to have sold winning lottery tickets in the past.

The most popular location in the state, he said, appeared to be the Primm Valley Lotto Store at the Nevada border, about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas.

“We have reports that there are three-hour waits there,” Traverso said. “It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so to see all of these people standing outside the store is kind of stunning.”

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot -- played in 43 states, plus the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia -- are about 1 in 175 million. A winning player must match five numbers along with the Powerball number.

Traverso said tickets for Saturday night’s draw must be purchased by 7 p.m. PDT.

Richard Lustig, who has won seven lottery game grand prizes and raked in more than $1 million, is author of “Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.” He generally discourages players from buying quick-pick tickets, whose numbers are randomly selected by a computer.

Instead, he encourages players to pick a set of numbers, do research to see if it is a good set, and then play the same set during every draw.

But he said it’s too late for that now.

“Someone trying to get into the game at the last minute and win -- they’re just foolish,” he said.  “This late in the game, write numbers on a wall and throw darts, and pick the first six numbers you hit.” 

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Twitter/@kurtstreeter

kurt.streeter@latimes.com

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