Powerball jackpot rises to $550m as ticket sales frenzy continues

A sign showing the new Powerball jackpot amount stands beside US 1 highway in Homestead, Fla., Wednesday, Nob. 28, 2012. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to $550 million, the second-largest payout in U.S. history. Tickets are selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide. That's about six times the volume from a week ago. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
A sign showing the new Powerball jackpot amount stands beside US 1 in Homestead, Fla.
J. Pat Carter/AP

[Winning numbers: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29; Powerball: 6. ]

The jackpot for the Powerball lottery game rose another $50 million today, to $550 million, as people flocked to lottery outlets to take a chance on the mammoth payout.

The jackpot had been $450 million as recently as Tuesday morning, but it was raised later Tuesday by $50 million and then by another $50 million today.

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The increases in the jackpot followed what the Massachusetts State Lottery calls a “national ticket sales frenzy.”

The record jackpot could yield some lucky person a lump sum payment of $360.2 million before taxes.

Massachusetts lottery dealers by noon had sold more than $3 million in tickets for the day, a rate of $14,800 per minute, the Lottery said. Since Oct. 3, Massacushetts buyers have plunked down $29 million for tickets and watched as 15 drawings have gone by without a big winner.

About 42 percent of ticket sales are returned to cities and towns. So far, this Powerball series has generated more than $12 million for cities and towns, the Lottery said.

(As for the other 58 percent —players receive about 50 percent of the money back in prizes, lottery dealers get about 6 percent in commissions and bonuses, and lottery administration costs take up about 2 percent, said spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan.)

“It’s been pretty busy. We’ve been selling lots of tickets,” said Alyssa Pawlowski, whose family owns Vista Donuts in Attleboro. “We used to be the No. 1 lottery store in Massachusetts.”

Pawlowski said Vista Donuts, which has been in business for 48 years, has sold a winning jackpot ticket for every big game for everything except Powerball. The Pawlowski family is unsure how much they’ve sold today, but they said they’ve seen some new faces come in to buy a ticket.

Tickets for tonight’s drawing will be sold up until 9:45 p.m.

Powerball is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Island.