Historic $1.5 bln Powerball jackpot sparks US ticket-buying frenzy
Updated: 2016-01-14 11:30
A customer purchases a Powerball lottery ticket at a news stand on Wall St. in New York January 13, 2016.[Photo/Agencies]
The ticket-buying mania was expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during the evening commuter rush hour, Grief said.
Powerball sales are "exponentially higher" than normal, Grief said. Since the jackpot was last hit on Nov. 4, 2015, a total of $2.65 billion in Powerball tickets have been sold, including $133 million sold on Wednesday by midday, Grief said.
Odds of picking a winning combination are 1 in 292 million.
For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, 50 percent goes to prizes, 40 percent to causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said.
"It's amazing; it's crazy," said Milwaukee Wal-Mart worker Juan Galindo, 41, who sought to pump up his luck by purchasing tickets at three different locations in Wisconsin over the past two days. The father of two said winning would allow him to build his dream house.
In New York, a steady stream of lottery ticket buyers braved some of the most frigid temperatures so far this winter and flowed into the tiny grocery store in midtown Manhattan.
Tatiann Cave, a 23-year-old home health aide, said she would use the jackpot to start her own cosmetics business. She has been using her mother's kitchen in New York to cook up test batches of products she dreams of selling under the name "Black Goddess."
"I'd like to quit my job and do something inspiring," Cave said.