Powerball soars to $800 million as states see strong sales

A clerk hands over a Powerball ticket to a customer, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at a local grocery store in Hialeah, Fla. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $500 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The record Powerball jackpot just got bigger, climbing to $800 million as sales soared in the days leading up to the drawing.

Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery, says officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association on Friday raised the estimated jackpot for Saturday night’s drawing from $700 million because of strong sales.

Grief says Powerball sales on Thursday were double the previous record for that day and that it’s possible the estimated jackpot could rise again before the drawing.

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A winner would have the option of being paid $800 million through annual payments over 29 years or opting for $496 million in cash.

Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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