Lottery jackpot rises to $900 million in US

Powerball jackpot rises to $900 million making it biggest ever in US history

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Powerball lottery ticket is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas.

The largest jackpot in US lottery history has climbed again, to a massive $900 million, as Americans dreaming of a life-changing windfall counted down the hours to Saturday's eagerly anticipated draw.

The United States is in the grip of lottery fever, with long queues forming outside lottery-ticket vendors -- driving up the jackpot ever more -- and Americans debating what they would do with such fabulous winnings.

The Powerball prize skyrocketed from $800 million on Friday, as the excitement built.

The lucky winner will take home an estimated $558 million if they choose a lump-sum cash prize, lottery officials said.

In the Powerball lottery, which takes place each Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 pm (0359 GMT), five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls, and one red one is pulled from a drum with 26.

To win the jackpot, a ticket holder has to match all the numbers on the six balls selected. The winner can choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual installments over 29 years -- or take a lower one-off payment in cash.

The previous jackpot record of $656 million, in March 30, 2012, was scooped up by three winners from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas.