The Powerball jackpot has reached high enough that the winner could have enough money to buy an NFL franchise or a dozen private islands worldwide.
A world record $1.5 billion top prize is available in Wednesday night’s drawing. The jackpot drops to $930 million if winners take a one-time payment over a 29-year annuity.
And the jackpot could grow.
Seven S.C lottery players came within one number of winning the $950 million jackpot Saturday. Three won $50,000 while four paid extra for a multiplier and took home $150,000.
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Ticket sales reached a record even before the jackpot passed the $1 billion mark.
Sales of the $2 tickets last week set a new S.C. record with players buying $21.7 million in Powerball tickets, S.C. Education Lottery director Paula Harper Bethea said.
The old mark was set in February 2006 when $19 million in tickets were sold ahead of a then-U.S. high $365 million jackpot.
South Carolina also broke a daily-sales record on Saturday with $9.5 million in Powerball tickets. The state usually sells about $1.2 million in Powerball tickets a week.
The sales boost helps bring extra money to education. South Carolina keeps nearly $1 of each $2 Powerball ticket sold, Bethea said.
About 86 cents goes to the General Assembly to spend on college scholarships, K-12 school upgrades and other education-related funding.
The remaining 14 cents of the state’s cut goes to ticket sellers for commissions.
The other $1 is set aside for prizes, which start at $4 and, at least for now, tops off at a point where the winner could buy the Buffalo Bills, the lowest-priced NFL franchise valued at $1.4 billion by Forbes.