(ORANGE BEACH, Ala.) Powerball tickets are selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide -- that's about six times the volume from a week ago. This means the jackpot could climb even higher before the machines shut down Wednesday night.
The jackpot has already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner, but Powerball officials say they now believe there is a 75 percent chance the winning combination will be drawn this time.
Locals have gone on a ticket-buying spree. The Powerball jackpot rose to $550 million Wednesday, enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.
At the Flora Bama it's all about the big dream and what to do with the money. We asked Billy Ray and he said " The first thing I would do would be to hire a lawyer then I would pay off the house." Snowbirds from Wisconsin visiting our area were not about to miss out either. This is a "national craze" said one ticket buyer. "It's an excitement to figure out what you will do with the money, what charities will get it and who you are going to give it to," said Joel Ebben who, with his wife, bought $40.00 worth of tickets today. " You can't win if you don't buy a ticket, so we did. It's exciting," said Lanny Ebben.
If one ticket hits the right numbers, chances are good that multiple tickets will as well , according to some experts. That happened in the Mega Millions drawing in March, when three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot. That remains the largest lottery payout of all time.