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Powerball jackpot soars as hopefuls bet big
Powerball fans have another prize to dream about this week after no one won Wednesday's $260 million jackpot. That leaves some $320 million up for grabs for Saturday's drawing.

And that total could grow as people line up for the chance to win.

The current Powerball jackpot is making history as one of the game's largest annuities ever. The cash payout is estimated at $198.3 million.

This is the third Powerball jackpot to top $250 million in less than a year, ABC news reports.

And lottery fever is kicking in, even though your chance of winning is about 1 in 175 million. But people are jumping at the chance to buy some hope and fantasize for a little while about what they would do with the money.

Some 43 states and Washington D.C. participate in the Powerball, creating an economic boost at a time when the country needs it. But it's not as much of a boost as you'd think.

Only about a quarter of lottery sales go to state governments, helping schools, construction and other programs, CNN reports. About 60% of the sales are paid to the winners, about 6% are commissions for retailers and 9% pay for administrative costs.

Some economists say that if you actually went out and spent that money on goods and services instead of gambling it away, the economy would see a bigger boost.

But if you must play, consider going to the fortune cookie for your winning numbers. In 2005, 110 players got five of the six numbers right, raising suspicion among lottery officials, The New York Times reports. But there was no fraud involved; those players all took their winning numbers from fortune cookies made by a New York City factory.
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