BOSTON — Sales of Powerball tickets in Massachusetts were zipping along at a $3,700-per-minute clip yesterday afternoon as residents and visitors alike were drawn to the remote chance of winning a growing jackpot.
The multi-state Powerball drawing jumped to $500 million yesterday as sales climbed across the country.
The Massachusetts Lottery had sold $1 million worth of Powerball tickets by mid-afternoon yesterday, following $2 million in sales on Monday and $1.5 million on Sunday.
“Sales seem to be flying,” Lottery Executive Director Paul Sternburg said during a Lottery Commission meeting.
The Powerball drawing this week is the largest in the game’s 20-year history, topping the previous record jackpot of $365 million won by a Nebraska resident in 2006.
The jackpot has grown for 15 consecutive drawings, since Oct. 3 when a ticket sold in Delaware earned its owner a $50 million jackpot.
Massachusetts Lottery agents have sold more than $20 million in tickets since the last win, giving the state $9 million in net profit that is sent back to cities and towns in local aid.
During the commission’s meeting, Treasurer Steven Grossman, who oversees the Lottery, said there are people buying tickets this week who rarely buy lottery tickets. Grossman said he expects sales of other tickets to jump with players picking up other lottery games when they purchase their Powerball tickets.
Sternburg agreed, saying he expected a “drag effect” to drive up sales of other Lottery products.
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are approximately 1 in 175 million, according to Lottery officials.
Powerball was introduced in Massachusetts in January 2010. On June 8, 2011 a $26.5 million winning Powerball ticket was sold in Fall River. Three $1 million Powerball prizes have also been sold in the state.