Austin: The Powerball jackpot Saturday night could be even higher than the record $600 million being advertised, possibly rivaling the largest lottery jackpot in US history, a Texas Lottery official said on Saturday.
"Oftentimes, the advertised amount is lower than what the actual jackpot ends up being," said Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery. "It's entirely possible this $600 million jackpot will end up being a bigger jackpot."
The Powerball record in November was advertised at $550 million, but ended up being $587.5 million when the winning numbers were drawn, thanks to last-minute sales.
Powerball officials told participating states on Saturday they would not be raising the advertised number for the drawing, Cripe said.
There had been speculation the advertised amount for the lottery would be increased to surpass $656 million - the largest jackpot in US history, set by the Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012. The lottery is offered in 43 states, Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands.
That prize was split between winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.
Chances of winning the Powerball on Saturday were one in 175 million, Cripe said.
If the drawing yields no winner, all records will be shattered as the jackpot for Wednesday would go to $925 million.
But players across the country weren't pushing their luck, shelling out bills for the nighttime drawing.
"It's only a couple bucks for a small daydream," said Russell Williams, 35, a salesman in Austin, Texas.
In New York City, talent acquisition agent Michelle Amici was playing the "if I win" game.
"Not sure that I'd buy anything," she said. "Rather, I'd attempt to quench my wanderlust by traveling the world. I'd also donate a large portion to education reform."
El Paso, Texas, mom Bonnie Carreno rarely plays but was taking a chance on this one. "I only ever buy a ticket when I see the amazing numbers in the headlines," she said.
For Austin marketing professional Becky Arreaga, the odds are not so long that she was discouraged about her chances.
"As long as the odds are 1 in anything, I'm in," said Arreaga, a partner at Mercury Mambo marketing firm. "I truly believe I could be the one."
"Just takes one ticket to win," echoed Tela Mange of Austin.
The popular lottery has not had a winner in two months.
The $2 tickets allow players pick five numbers from 1 to 59, and a Powerball number from 1 to 35. The numbers will be drawn Saturday at 10:59 pm EDT (02:59 GMT on Sunday) in Tallahassee, Florida.
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