Wednesday Powerball jackpot surges to $500 million

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DENVER -- The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has grown to $500 million, the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year, lottery officials said Wednesday.

People are walking in to the Colorado Lottery headquarters in southeast Denver to take a chance on winning the huge prize.

The jackpot is the largest since more than $564 was claimed a year ago February by players from Texas, North Carolina and Puerto Rico.

A surge in ticket sales boosted the jackpot has boosted the jackpot $100 million since Sunday.

Officials estimate 125 million new tickets will have been sold since Sunday.

Nobody has matched all six numbers in one of the biweekly Powerball drawings since Nov. 7, a span of 17 drawings.

The $450 million jackpot is one of the biggest in U.S. history. It's currently headed for sixth place, but if there's still no winner on Wednesday night, the pot will keep growing -- and moving up the ranks.

The cutoff time to buy a ticket is 7:30 p.m. The drawing is at 9 p.m.

Largest lotteries in U.S. history

$656 million: Mega Millions, March 30, 2012

$648 million: Mega Millions, Dec. 13, 2013

$590.5 million: Powerball, May 18, 2013

$587.5 million: Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012

$564 million: Powerball, Feb. 11, 2015

$448.4 million: Powerball, Aug. 7, 2013

$425.3 million: Powerball, Feb. 19, 2014

$414 million: Mega Millions, March 18, 2014

$399.4 million: Powerball, Sept. 18, 2013

$390 million: Mega Millions, March 6, 2007

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