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Powerball jackpot hits $500M – and officials expect it to go even higher

The Powerball jackpot has ballooned to $500 million, but players are more likely to die from a falling coconut than win the record prize.

Powerball jackpot hits 500mEnlarge
Morris James of Washington, DC, buys Powerball tickets for Wednesday's draw. (AFP/Getty Images)

Powerball’s jackpot has ballooned to $500 million, making it the game’s biggest ever winnings and the second largest in US lottery history.

Unfortunately, players have a one in 175 million chance of winning the prize, meaning they are more likely to die from a falling coconut or win an Academy Award, ABC News reported, citing Emory University mathematics professor Skip Garibaldi.

While most people know the odds of winning the jackpot are stacked against them, it doesn’t stop them from dreaming.

"I would do so many things... I would take care of my family," Rose Santo Pietro, 56, of Huntington told Newsday as she bought $10 worth of Powerball tickets.

No one has won Powerball since October 6.

On November 25 the jackpot reached $425 million, but in the past two days has soared to $500 million – and officials expect it to go even higher.

"Typically, 60 percent of sales occur the last day,'' Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, told USA Today.

"We'll see how many people decide to play $500 million."

The jackpot, the second highest in lottery history after the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March, is scheduled to be drawn at 10:59 ET on Wednesday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121127/powerball-jackpot