Lotto fever spreads as Powerball reaches $600 million - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Lotto fever spreads as Powerball reaches $600 million

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Powerball jackpot has hit $600 million and lotto fever is spreading across the country, including here in San Diego.

Officials say it now ranks as the largest prize in the game's history and the world's second largest lottery prize. 

At Linda Liquor in Linda Vista, one customer on Friday left with 300 tickets in his pocket.

"Some dude came up with a whole lot of cash and he bought $600 worth, all Powerballs," said one of the convenience store's managers.

California recently became the 44th and largest state to participate in Powerball, giving lottery 'high-rollers' another way to spend their money.

"I come in and buy them all," said Santee resident Jim Jordan, who has had "Lotto luck" at this 7-11 in Santee in the past. He's hoping Saturday night will be a repeat performance.

"This is the biggy biggy biggy, and I want to win," he told News 8.

Jordan is not alone, although some Powerball players are more realistic than others.

"It's probably 20 times more likely to get struck by lightning than to win this," said Powerball hopeful Glen Kluge.

The chances of claiming that lump sum of $377 million after taxes: one in 175 million.

If you are that unbelievably lucky person, there are some precautions to keep in mind before cashing in.

Experts advise to immediately sign your ticket; make copies of it; and if you can't store it in a safe deposit box, try stashing it in a Zip-Loc bag in your freezer, which provides a fire-resistant safe place where thieves are unlikely to look.

The grand prize is growing quickly Friday because so many people were buying $2 tickets after nobody won the jackpot in the previous drawing on Wednesday night.

In just those two days, the jackpot grew by an estimated $236 million.

The last jackpot was won on March 30th, so the prize has been growing for about six weeks total. The drawing will be held Saturday, May 18.

The largest jackpot ever was a 656-million-dollar Mega Millions prize won in March 2012.

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