In what's quickly becoming a quarterly routine, the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing has climbed into the stratosphere.
California Lottery officials project the jackpot to be around $400 million, just two months after the Mega Millions game produced a $648-million jackpot, and about five months since Powerball last produced a $400-million jackpot.
The bigger jackpots are drawing more players and excitement to the California Lottery after years of decline. The turnaround is due to changes made to the lottery in 2010, when revenues were falling. The changes brought bigger prizes, but they also altered the formula for how much revenue schools receive.
California joined Powerball last April and since then, enormous jackpots have become more common. About a month after the state joined the game, a Powerball jackpot climbed to about $600 million, setting a record for the game.
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 $1 per play.
The odds of winning Wednesday's big Powerball prize are about 1 in 175 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Assn. For Saturday's drawing, California sold more than 151,000 winning tickets for smaller prizes ranging from $3 to $5,937, according to the California Lottery.
If Wednesday's jackpot rolls over, lottery officials have said past experience suggests Saturday's draw will offer a prize in excess of $500 million.