DES MOINES, Iowa - Black Friday shoppers in many cities briefly detoured into lottery retailers, drawn off task by the prospects of winning a $325 million Powerball jackpot -- the fourth-largest in the game's history.
A single winner's cash payout would be nearly $213 million before taxes.
Lottery officials say they're unsure what effect Thanksgiving and beginning of Christmas shopping season will have on sales, which normally pick up in the days before high-dollar drawings.
Since Powerball tickets doubled in price to $2 in January, the number of tickets sold has decreased, but the sales revenue has made up for it, increasing by about 35 percent, said Norm Lingle, chairman of the Powerball board of directors.
And as the price went up, so did the jackpots, enticing thousands across the country to play.
"Christmas is coming and $325 million would come in handy," said Tim Abel, 63, who was buying a Powerball ticket at New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal. The Broadway stagehand said he usually plays whenever the jackpot goes over $100 million.
Recent Powerball winners include an Iowa couple that won a whopping $202 million on Sept. 26. A week later, a Delaware resident picked all six numbers for a $50 million payday.
Lingle, who is also the executive director of the South Dakota Lottery, says this weekend will be "telling."
"To my knowledge we've never had a large jackpot run like this fall over a major holiday," he said.
You can see the drawing on the Local 10 News at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
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