The rush to buy Powerball tickets for a chance to win the second-largest payout in U.S. history has produced two winning tickets, one in Arizona and one in the Kansas City, Mo., area.
The jackpot had increased to $579.9 million by the time of the drawing, making the cash option $379.8 million.
Powerball.com reported an additional 8,924,123 players won prizes totaling more than $131.5 million.
The numbers drawn Wednesday night are: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6.
Arizona lottery officials said early Thursday morning they had no information on the winner or winners but would announce where the ticket was sold during a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m.
The jackpot hit came on the heels of 16 consecutive drawings that produced no top winner, boosting the Powerball to become the second-largest potential lottery payout in U.S. history.
Tickets were selling at an average of 130,000 a minute across the United States in the hours before the drawing, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game. That equates to players buying 7.8 million tickets an hour, spending $15.6 million an hour for a chance at the huge jackpot.
The huge sales volume, which was about six times the rate of the week before, prompted game officials to boost the jackpot twice in two days.
An estimated 90 percent of the tickets sold were quick picks in which the players allowed computers to pick the numbers, adding an extra element of randomness to the number choices.
There had been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot was initially posted at $425 million, which was a record for the game. However, it was revised upward on Tuesday to $500 million when brisk sales increased the payout.
On Wednesday morning it was increased again to $550 million and revised once again prior to the drawing to $579.9 million. That was rapidly closing ground on the $656 million Mega Millions prize of March, the largest lottery jackpot in history.
“Sales have been so fast and so strong it’s difficult to keep up with the estimates,” said Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, one of the founding Powerball states.
The estimated jackpot will be reset to $40 million.
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