Powerball jackpot hits $600 million, setting new record; $6,000 in tickets sold every minute

Powerball lottery tickets sales hit uncharted territory today as the jackpot soared slightly above $600 million, setting a new record.

The astronomical odds for the prize, one in 175,000,000, are not scaring away buyers, who are flocking to stores across Massachusetts.

Just before noon, state lottery spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan said she was “mesmerized” as proceeds from Powerball tickets ticked up past $911,000 for the day, at a rate of more than $6,000 per minute.

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“The addition of California ... it has really contributed to making this jackpot so robust,” she said.

In April, California became the 43rd state to join Powerball. Bresnahan credited the sales from the country’s most populous state for helping the jackpot surpass the previous record of $587 million set in November.

It took 16 consecutive drawings without a winner for the jackpot to reach $587 million in November, and at the peak of sales the state was raking in $24,000 per minute, Bresnahan said.

The current prize has seen 13 drawings, and as excitement builds like a thunderstorm for the next drawing at 10:59 p.m. Saturday, Bresnahan said she expects sales by minute exceed that.

Pedro Quezada, a native of the Dominican Republic living in New Jersey, last won the Powerball jackpot when it stood at $338 million in March. There have been several smaller winners since then, including two Massachusetts residents who have not yet claimed their $1 million prizes. The larger fortune has been steadily growing since.

If only one person were to pick the winning numbers, they would be entitled to a $376 million lump sum — that would be a $264 million prize after the 5 percent state tax and 25 percent federal tax are applied, Bresnahan said.

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