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Powerball: Thousands line up for $600-million-plus jackpot

Tens of thousands of people lined up at lottery outlets across California on Saturday, scooping up $2 tickets in anticipation of a Powerball draw later in the day with a jackpot of over $600 million.

The draw, scheduled to take place in Tallahassee, Fla., at 8 p.m. PDT, will offer the biggest jackpot since California entered the multi-state game last month.

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And if it doesn’t produce a winner? “Extremely conservative estimates are that the next drawing, on Wednesday, would be for an estimated $925 million,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery. “This is uncharted territory.”

By the early afternoon Saturday, tickets were selling at a pace of about 1.5 million per hour in California, officials said, with many people buying dozens of tickets at a time.

Traverso said he’d received reports of long lines at stores statewide and that, as expected, hopefuls were piling up outside outlets known to have sold winning lottery tickets in the past.

The most popular location in the state, he said, appeared to be the Primm Valley Lotto Store at the Nevada border, about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas.

“We have reports that there are three-hour waits there,” Traverso said. “It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so to see all of these people standing outside the store is kind of stunning.”

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot -- played in 43 states, plus the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia -- are about 1 in 175 million. A winning player must match five numbers along with the Powerball number.

Traverso said tickets for Saturday night’s draw must be purchased by 7 p.m. PDT.

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Twitter/@kurtstreeter

kurt.streeter@latimes.com


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