1.3 Billion! Crazy. Obviously they need to reduce the amount of numbers somewhere. Should it really be this difficult to win?
From what I read in an earlier story today, that is part of the plan. In the past, after big Powerball jackpots were hit, sales fell off considerably. The number of possible primary numbers (the first five drawn) was increased from 59 to 69, and the number of possible Powerball numbers (the sixth and last number drawn) was reduced from 35 to 25. The strategy was to make it easier to win the lower amounts, but more difficult to win the top prize. The result is what you see now. The jackpot has rolled over 17 times, it will be in excess of $1.5B at the time of the drawing, and it is all that anyone talks about. Ticket sales are at an all time high. People who have never bought lottery tickets have bought Powerball tickets because of the massive amount of money in the top jackpot.
I live in one of six states that is not a Powerball state - ironic, since many forms of gambling and games of chance that aren't legal in other states are legal here. It's all about protecting the casinos - although I believe that to be an invalid argument. There is no way that the Nevadans who bought Powerball tickets in California and Arizona would have spent the money in casinos if it were not for Powerball. These are people with 24-hour access to pretty much any game of chance that they want to play, and the casinos simply can't compete with a potential payout well in excess of $1.5B.
This is how crazy it has gotten. The local (Las Vegas) NBC station sent a reporter to the Powerball sales location at Primm. For those who are unfamiliar, Primm is a small town on the Nevada-California border. I'm not even sure that anyone lives there, because you don't see any houses, just businesses. There is a factory outlet mall (which is in Nevada), and on the south edge of the parking lot is a convenience store which is in California, by the barest of margins. The place opens at 8:00 AM. The reporter, who was reporting live at 5:30 AM, showed a line that stretched across the front of the building, around the side and back into the parking lot. The reporter said that she talked to two people who arrived at 3 AM, and they weren't even first in line.