Powerball jackpot grows to a record $600 million

Fri May 17, 2013 7:40pm EDT

May 17 (Reuters) - The jackpot for the Powerball lottery has soared to a record $600 million and the top prize may swell to nearly $1 billion if no one draws the winning numbers this weekend, a lottery official said on Friday.

The potential payout of Saturday's jackpot could mean a one-time lump sum payment of $376.9 million. Officials reported brisk ticket sales across the country.

The top prize grew after no one won a drawing on Wednesday, said Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, where the Powerball is based.

The popular lottery, which is played in 42 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has not had a winner in two months.

"If this hasn't caught your attention, I'm not sure what would," Neubauer said.

The previous largest Powerball jackpot record was $587.5 million in November 2012. According to Powerball, the odds of winning the big prize on Saturday are one in 175 million.

If no match is made for all winning five numbers and the Powerball, the jackpot could grow to nearly $1 billion, Neubauer said.

She said that size of a pot could pose some challenges for lottery organizers.

"Our billboards aren't designed to display a billion," she said. "We're not sure how we will display that amount, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." (Additional reporting by David Adams; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Richard Chang)

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