Describing the odds of winning Saturday's
For the 18th consecutive time, no one matched all six numbers to the Powerball lottery jackpot Wednesday night. As a result, the estimated prize for Saturday's drawing has ballooned to an unprecedented $700 million.
Just to put that jackpot in global perspective, it's larger than the gross domestic product for nine of the world's island nations, according to the World Bank: Comoros, Dominica, Tonga, São Tomé and Príncipe, Micronesia, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Wednesday's jackpot was already more than half a billion dollars. With the prize climbing to a level never reached, lottery officials expect the public's excitement to reach a fever pitch by Saturday.
"I don't even know how to describe it. This has never happened before," said California State Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso. "All I can imagine now is seeing how the next three days unfold. Our sales just started today."
Powerball is played in 44 states and three U.S. territories. The jackpot minimum is $40 million because there are so many participants. On an average week in California, there's maybe $6 million in sales divided between the Wednesday and Saturday drawings, Traverso said.
Leading up to Wednesday's jackpot, the pace picked up.
On Tuesday, there were $7 million in sales. On Wednesday, it was $20 million, Traverso said.
"It's pretty nuts," he said.
A more apt comparison for what storeowners and hopeful customers might expect in the state this week would be the $656-million
The odds of matching all six numbers are 1 in 292.2 million.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.