Southern California breaking news and trends

Odds shmodds: Powerball jackpot bounces to $500 million

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A Powerball lottery ticket is seen in a convenience store in Washington on November 26, 2012. The previous drawing resulted in no winner, setting up for the record setting prize when numbers will be drawn on Wednesday. Tickets are sold in 42 US states, Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands.

The odds of winning Wednesday's multi-state Powerball jackpot — which reached a history-making $500 million mark on Tuesday — are roughly 1-in-175,000,000. 

Just in case, CBS MoneyWatch put together an action plan for wouldbe millionaires should they find themselves in the improbable path of a Powerball windfall. Californians seeking such a fate need to start driving

A $2 investment earns a chance at the second-biggest jackpot ever (no.1 = $656 million Mega Millions); a jackpot that's already defied odds by rolling over 16 consecutive times without a big winner. If the big winner winds up being you, here is step one, according to CBS MoneyWatch

1) Read the rules on the ticket and on the lottery's website. Sign your name on the back of the ticket, unless the rules forbid it. Then make a copy of it and put it in a safe deposit box. Don't feel compelled to tell the world just yet. Try to refrain from telling anyone beyond your immediate family. You can take your time before contacting the lottery authorities, but be aware that ticket expiration periods vary from state to stat, from 90 days to one year. The back of your ticket will likely detail the expiration period for your state.

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No California winner in historic Mega Millions jackpot

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Photo by vvvracer via Flickr Creative Commons

Three lottery tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland hit the world record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, lottery officials said Saturday.

Illinois' winning ticket was bought at a convenience store in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis, and the winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang said.

"This is very exciting, people are extremely happy, and of course everybody wants to know who it is," Denise Metzger, manager of the Motomart where the winning ticket was sold, said Saturday morning. "Hopefully I sold that ticket to someone who comes in every single morning."

In Maryland, television cameras were descending on the 7-Eleven in Baltimore County where the state's winning ticket was purchased. The harried manager could only repeatedly say "No interviews" to the reporters pressing for details, and customers pushed through the media crush for their morning coffee on Saturday.

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The $363 million question: Mega Millions lottery approaches state record

mega millions lottery ticket

Photo by vvvracer via Flickr Creative Commons

A $363 million jackpot could find itself claimed if a Mega Millions winning California lottery ticket is drawn Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The projected prize of $356 million was bumped up $7 million after sales surpassed expectation following last Friday’s no-winner lottery letdown of $290 million.

The all-time high for a Califonia jackpot was logged in March 2007 at $390 million. A Tuesday winner would have a cash payout option of $259.8 million.

The odds of winning Mega Millions are about one in 176 million, and those in search of a grown-up golden ticket can play the numbers until retailers cease sales at 7:45 p.m.

The outlet that sells the winning ticket also receives some treasure, with a maximum bonus topping out at $1 million.

KPCC wants to know why Californians play or avoid the lottery. Share your story with us, or leave a note in the comments!

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