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Powerball jackpot soars to $425 million for Wednesday's drawing

Powerball jackpot soars to $425 million for Wednesday's drawing
A family rubs their lottery tickets on the lucky bird hoping it will bring them luck last May after purchasing their tickets at Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne, which has a reputation for producing lottery winners. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

A Powerball jackpot is again soaring into record territory, hitting $425 million as of Tuesday morning, California Lottery officials said.

Since California joined the game in April, lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said, enormous jackpots have become more common. About a month after California joined the $2 game, a Powerball jackpot climbed to about $600 million, setting a new record for the game. The massive jackpot next up for grabs Wednesday has been rolling since late June.

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California alone has already sold about $275 million in Powerball tickets since the game arrived in the state, Traverso said.

"This is sort of the reason we joined — because of the potential for the jackpot to grow," he said. Everyone's working themselves up into a frenzy again."

Last year the state lottery got a glimpse of the possibilities when its Mega Millions multistate game grew to a $656-million prize. That game alone added $300 million in sales for the lottery over two months, resulting in a 27% increase in total revenues for the year.

Powerball is even larger than Mega Millions, with a starting jackpot that is more than three times as large. The games are similar — requiring players to match up to six numbers — and the odds of hitting the jackpot in each of the games are almost the same: 1 in about 175.2 million for Powerball and 1 in about 175.7 million for Mega Millions.

Officials say that, with Powerball's $2 tickets, jackpots in that game can rise faster with fewer tickets sold than in a game like Mega Millions, which costs only $1 per play.

Traverso said that if there is no winner of Wednesday's drawing, there is a "real shot" the Powerball record will be broken on Saturday.

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

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