Powerball mania is once again sweeping the nation as millions flock to plunk down their cash in anticipation of a record $425 million jackpot currently awaiting a winner.
The last winner was in early October, so the pot has grown and will be even bigger if no one comes up with the magic numbers on Wednesday night.
But if you live in California or seven other states that don’t offer Powerball, you’ll have to cross states lines to play the game. However, residents of the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands can join with the 42 states that do offer Powerball and head to the nearest business that sells the tickets and maybe get lucky enough to be the big winner.
Alabama, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming don’t sell government-run lottery tickets. Puerto Rico has its own lottery, but has chosen not to join in either Powerball or Mega Millions. California has said it expects to begin offering Powerball sometime in fiscal 2012-13.
But don’t hold your breath expecting to win because the odds are way not in your favor. Skip Garibaldi, mathematics professor at Emory University in Atlanta, did the math. He told ABC News that players are three times more likely to die from a falling coconut, seven times more likely to die from fireworks, "and way more likely to die from flesh-eating bacteria" (115 fatalities a year) than you are to win the Powerball lottery.
The previous largest jackpot in Powerball history was back in 2006, when eight Lincoln, Neb., co-workers shared a $365 million prize.
Lottery officials in Iowa, where Powerball is headquartered, have been getting phone calls from all over the globe.
"When it gets this big," spokesperson Mary Neubauer told ABC News, "we start getting inquiries from Canada and Europe from people wanting to know if they can buy a ticket. They ask if they can FedEx us the money."
Turns out they can’t. To play you must pay in person for the tickets.
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