Powerball: Long lines as jackpot hits $550M

Is this the lucky ticket? Hiral Patel sells Powerball tickets at Circle News Stand in Hollywood, Florida, today.

The Powerball jackpot has swollen to a record $550 million and it is likely to go even higher as Americans line up for hours to buy a ticket for Wednesday night’s highly anticipated draw.

It is the game’s highest ever winnings and the second biggest in US lottery history.

The terrible odds of winning — players have a one in 175 million chance of picking the lucky numbers — have not deterred people with caviar and champagne dreams from waiting in line at mini-marts and gas stations.

"I'd say the line has to be like three, three and a half hours," one person told ABC News.

No one has won Powerball since October 6.

On November 25 the jackpot reached $425 million, but by Tuesday had ballooned to $500 million.

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

But despite the excitement surrounding the draw, people would be better off trying their luck elsewhere, CNN noted.

Gamblers are more likely to die from a falling coconut or win an Academy Award than collect the $550 million prize, math experts say.

In the unlikely event that you do win, sign the back of the ticket straight away, said Kelly Spell, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.

“Single most important thing you can do," she told USA Today. "That's the best way we can determine who owns it."

And then consult a lawyer.

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