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The Powerball jackpot ballooned big time in the run-up to this evening’s drawing, with an estimated $360 million in play. Do you have the winning numbers?

We highly doubt it. But if you have a ticket, you never know!

Officials expect jackpot totals of this size to continue to climb, thanks in part to a game redesign that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize.

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This also lowered the possible number combinations to win the Powerball, however. In any case, the lotto craze is showing no signs of slowing.


The “cross-selling” of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets – states being able to sell both Powerball tickets and Mega Millions tickets – also helps.

As a result, large jackpots will continue to surpass all-time jackpot records set years ago, said Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery.

Iowa is one of the founding Powerball states, where it remains huge.

“It usually took a handful of months, if not several months, for a jackpot to reach this large amount,” she said. “Now it’s achieving that within a handful of weeks.”

“I think the redesign is achieving exactly what we had wanted it to.”

In fact, more than half of the all-time records have been hit recently.

The top two all-time jackpots – $656 million from a Mega Millions jackpot and $587.5 million from a Powerball jackpot – were achieved in 2012.

The last major win came when a New Jersey man won a $338.3 million jackpot – now considered the fourth largest jackpot in history – this March.

Players aren’t complaining about the large sums. On the contrary.

“I’d hire someone to tell me what to do with the money,” said R.J. Konyek, 36, an engineer in Omaha, Neb. “I’d definitely be up for the challenge (of spending it).”

Insurance agent Joe Williams, of Middleton, Wis., is trying like so many others to get lucky with Powerball. Even his $4 investment gives him a shot.

“I know rationally it makes no sense,” he said of his long shot.

“But at the same time, without a ticket, I have zero chance.”

You can’t win if you don’t play. Words to live by.