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NATIONAL REPORT -- The odds of winning Wednesday's record Powerball jackpot: one in 175 million. Yet consumers have flocked in droves to many retail outlets in 42 states to purchase their $2 ticket for a chance to claim a $425 million prize in advance of Wednesday's drawing.
The previous record Powerball jackpot was $365 million, won by eight employees of a Nebraska meat-packing plant in 2006, while the largest lottery payout in U.S. history was $656 million, shared by three winning tickets earlier this year in a Mega Millions drawing.
Since Oct. 6, the date when the Powerball jackpot began to rise, New York State Powerball sales have exceeded $76.7 million, said Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for the New York Lottery.
"It's a fairly cheap purchase, and people see winning the large jackpot as a dream that could come true," Ed Van Petten, executive director of the Minnesota State Lottery, told USA Today. He added that he expects up to 2 million people will buy Powerball tickets before Wednesday's drawing.
Powerball sales have been especially strong at a CITGO gas station and convenience store in Bethel, Conn., clerk Kyle Trudeau told the news outlet. "Everybody's after that big fish in the pond," he said.
However, Trudeau noted that he will not be buying any Powerball tickets for himself.