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Crossing the border for a chance at millions

Published On: Nov 28 2012 06:07:43 PM CST
Powerball tickets

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

YUMA, Ariz. -

 The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are about 1 in 175 million. But that isn't stopping thousands of Californians from crossing the border to buy as many tickets as they can.
     Statistically, you have a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine than hitting the jackpot. But, that's not doing a thing to slow the frenzy.
     One clerk at a store in Yuma said, "People are buying like $130, $40...going crazy." Lottery officials say tickets are selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide.
     Not a single winning Powerball ticket has been sold since October 6th, causing the jackpot to roll over 16 times. Now, even in a state where the powerball is not in play, people are becoming intoxicated with the thought of striking it rich.
     Most people buying tickets said they'd pay off their houses, cars, and similar debts before splurging on vacations and new purchases.
     42 states now participate in Powerball, and California should be joining that list by next year. But, that's not quite early enough for many millionaire hopefuls. Some Californians are even driving up to two and a half hours to cross the state line, and purchase their two dollar tickets.
     One store in Arizona, near the California and Nevada border, has a wait time that rivals some theme parks. One man offered his estimate after waiting for tickets, "Oh, I'd say the line has to be like about 3, 3 and a half hours."
     Winners must match five numbers, 1-59, and the Powerball, 1-35.
     The over half billion dollar prize is the largest in the 20 year history of Powerball drawings, $100 million short of the record set by Mega Millions in April. Of course that figure is only accurate if you take the nearly 30 year annuity payment. The lump sum would be around $360 million. After federal taxes, the winner is looking at taking home about $250 million.
     The drawing takes place in Florida, at 10:59 Eastern Standard Time. Just before 8 pm locally.