Local News

Thursday, Nov 29 2012 05:27 PM

California to join Powerball frenzy next year

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SACRAMENTO -- Californians may have missed out on this week's record-setting Powerball lottery drawing, but they will be able to buy tickets to the multistate game starting next spring, after the California Lottery Commission voted Thursday to add it to the state's roster of games.

California will join 42 other states and the District of Columbia in playing the jackpot lottery when retailers begin selling tickets in April.

Powerball frenzy hit a peak this week as the jackpot soared to a record $588 million. Two players, in Missouri and Arizona, matched all six numbers and are expected to share the prize.

The tickets were sold at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix and a gas station in Dearborn, Mo. The Missouri buyer came forward Thursday, and lottery officials set a news conference for Friday morning at North Platte High School, near where the ticket was bought.

The payout represents the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

Tickets sold at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide -- about six times the volume from a week ago. That pushed the jackpot even higher, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. The jackpot rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner.

In California, Lottery Director Robert T. O'Neill said the $2 Powerball tickets could bring in an additional $50 million to $100 million "to supplement public education funding, which is our one and only mission."

"Plus, our customers were pretty clear that they wanted us to bring Powerball to California," O'Neill said in a statement.

The Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million and increases by at least $10 million every roll. It is California's second multistate game, after MEGA Millions.

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