Powerball fever rising today in advance of Saturday's $317 million drawing
By Marcia Moore The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The manager of two independent convenience stores — one in Sunbury, the other in Milton – said this afternoon that business is “just now” picking up fast for this weekend’s Powerball draw.
The jackpot for Saturday's game is at least $317 million, with a cash option of $176.3 million — minus taxes.
“It almost seems like the excitement threshold for Powerball is $300 million,” laughed Hassan Saleh, who has been selling Pennsylvania Lottery tickets for more than five years. “I remember when I was growing up in the 1980s in Philadelphia, $1 million was considered a major jackpot. Now you can win that playing a scratch card. It’s crazy good.”
Saleh controls four lottery terminals and when the jackpots get high enough, he said, “it’s like a stampede begins. People tend to forget the odds because of the huge payout. A $2 ticket could yield millions.”
The odds, by the way, are 1 in 175.2 million.
“But someone always wins, sooner or later,” Saleh said sheepishly. A few months ago, when the Mega Millions jackpot topped $600 million, there were lines out the door, he said. “People who never played a lottery game in their life were coming in and betting, $10, $20.”
Last Wednesday, a 10th consecutive Powerball drawing passed with no tickets matching all the numbers. As a result, the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing will be at least $317 million.
The last Powerball jackpot winner was on Aug. 7 when there was a $448 million jackpot won by one ticket holder in the state of Washington.
Since April 1992, there have been 311 Powerball jackpot winners that have been awarded jackpot prizes (both annuity and lump sum cash) totaling $13,343,044,266.
The Powerball game has paid out $9,561,333,887 ($9.6 billion) in the other non-jackpot cash prizes.
Powerball tickets are sold for $2 in 43 states, including Pennsylvania. They are also sold in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.