How high will it go? Powerball jackpot hits $800m

(WPRI/AP) –The historic Powerball jackpot is still rising, and it is likely it could reach $900 million before Saturday night’s drawing.

Now, people are trying to cash in on the historic jackpot.

Sales have been soaring in the past week. Would-be millionaires across the country have been flocking to lottery retailers and pooling cash in the hopes of a huge win.

With nobody having won since November, the jackpot started the new year last Friday at around $334 million. Nobody won the January 2 Saturday drawing. By Monday, the prize had hit $400 million, and then $450 million on Tuesday. Wednesday, before the 11 p.m. Eastern drawing, it climbed to $500 million, and then $524 million.

Yet again nobody won on Wednesday night. Thursday, the jackpot hit $675 million, and then $700 million. Friday, it reached $800 million.

The game keeps breaking its own records. This will be the highest jackpot ever.

And the mass exodus to purchase tickets is boosting local businesses along the way.

“My boss is loving it, he’s making a ton of money,” said Karen Restor of Broadway Mart.

Restor said she changes the signs in the store when the jackpot climbs.

“Tomorrow I’ll probably have to put in a sign saying $900 million,” she said.

According to consumer website Value Penguin, the Ocean State has the most tickets sold per capita.

The chances of hitting the jackpot are about 1 in 292 million. But the possibilities it could bring are endless.

Eyewitness News got in on the action, too, buying a ticket or two. We also spoke to a couple people Friday about what they would do with their winnings. People mentioned helping out friends and family and paying off student debt.

“Powerball has never been this high before so definitely worth buying a ticket this time around,” said Joe Kiernan of Barrington.

Powerball is played in 44 states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, as well as Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

You can watch the drawing Saturday night during Eyewitness News at 11 on WPRI 12.

How many Powerball winners come from your state? (Map originally posted on

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