Powerball Jackpot Hopefuls Cross State Lines To Buy Tickets For $550 Million Prize [UPDATED]

Lottery hopefuls can't purchase Powerball tickets in several states including Alabama, Nevada, and Utah, but that hasn't stopped them from crossing state borders to buy tickets in the hopes of winning Wednesday's $550 million jackpot, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Though the odds of winning the jackpot are slim -- 1 in 175 million, to be exact -- the LA Times reports that the $550 million prize is prompting long lines in border towns in Idaho, where people from Utah often travel to buy their tickets.

Idaho convenience store owner K.C. Spackman told the news outlet that he considers himself the home of the Utah lottery. He told the LA Times that about 90 percent of his customers are from there. Similarly, a Circle K in Georgia near the border of Alabama experienced a flood of people from the neighboring state. A cashier said that customers were purchasing $60 and $80 worth of tickets.

As the Associated Press notes, the current jackpot is the biggest in Powerball's history. There have been 16 drawings in a row, and no one has won the big prize.

Chuck Strutt, the executive director of Multi-State Lottery Association, told the AP that the odds of someone hitting the jackpot this Wednesday are about 60 percent.

So far, the highest number of tickets have been sold in Florida. According to the Sun Sentinel, the state has sold $83 million worth of tickets since Oct. 3.

Of course, as the jackpot grows, it seems that the lengths people go to purchase a ticket do as well. Back in March, customers waited in line for up to 4 hours at a convenience store located near the Nevada-California border, because it was one of the closet places to Las Vegas where people could buy tickets.

For the current pot, lottery officials at the Powerball headquarters in Iowa said they've been receiving calls from people in Canada and Europe asking how they can participate and whether they can FedEx the money to purchase a ticket. However, the answer to that question, they told ABC, is "no."

On the East Coast, several Powerball players in Little Ferry, N.J., told The News Journal that if they won, they would either donate part of the money to victims of Hurricane Sandy, or use a portion of the winnings to help fix the devastation their own homes incurred during the superstorm.

Update: The Powerball jackpot increased to $550 million on Wednesday. This story has been updated to reflect this change.



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