Snowbound? Bored? You can dream of the US Powerball $400 million jackpot

Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:54pm EST

A woman buys a Powerball lottery ticket at a convenience store in New York August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

A woman buys a Powerball lottery ticket at a convenience store in New York August 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

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(Reuters) - You've got to play to win, which this week could entail climbing snowbanks and crossing icy roads for a chance to snag the U.S. Powerball jackpot of $400 million, one of the largest prizes in lottery history.

The top prize swelled over the weekend after it was discovered on Sunday that there were no winning tickets sold for the Saturday drawing, which offered a $330 million prize.

That pushed the jackpot to $400 million for the next drawing, scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game.

Over the past two years, Powerball prizes have nearly doubled in size after ticket prices rose to $2 from $1 and California, the nation's most populous state, joined the game.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the big prize, regardless of how many tickets a typical player buys, are one in 175 million, the lottery said.

In the biggest haul, a single Powerball winner took home $590 million before taxes after purchasing a winning ticket in Florida in May 2013.

Average jackpots are about $255 million, according to the Powerball website.

More than roughly 70 percent of winners bought tickets with computer-selected numbers, it said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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