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Powerball Jackpot Hits Staggering $1.5 Billion

The estimated jackpot in the multi-state Powerball lottery — which already smashed the world record — is now expected to be worth $1.5 billion when the balls drop, officials said Tuesday.

That means a single winner would have the option of a lump-sum cash payout of an estimated $930 million.

Yes, you read that right.

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"Jackpot increased because of yesterday's strong sales," Kelly Cripe, director of media relations at the Texas Lottery Commission, said in a statement announcing the higher estimated payoff.

Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. No players have correctly selected the six numbers required to win the jackpot in the last 19 drawings dating back to Nov. 11.

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Retailers say demand for tickets to the drawing at 10:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday has been off the charts, raising the possibility that the payoff could climb even higher.

"People are buying hundreds at a time. We've sold more than $1,000 worth of Powerball today, and it's still early," said Amin Haffar, owner of a Citgo service station in Chicago suburb Oak Lawn, told Reuters.

A $2 ticket has a one in 292.2 million chance of winning the grand prize, Powerball said. That compares with a one in 700,000 chance of being killed by an asteroid in a lifetime, according to astronomers at the Space Science Institute.