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July 29, 2014

Powerball jackpot swells to $550 million

In a timely development for gas station and convenience store operators, the Powerball lottery jackpot has soared to $550 million. That means many grumpy gas buyers, irked by a dramatic price increase in Minnesota this week, will be flocking to stores anyway for a 1-in-175 million chance of hitting the grand prize. The next drawing is Saturday night.

A $550 million jackpot would be the second-highest in the history of the game and third largest overall, ABC News reports. If a winner took the cash option, it could come out to about $350 million.

The latest jackpot also has the potential to break the record for largest jump between drawings, according to the Associated Press. That still belongs to a Powerball jackpot in November 2012, when the jackpot jumped $260 million to reach the all-time Powerball jackpot record of $587.5 million.

The last big Powerball winner was Pedro Quezada of New Jersey, who claimed a $338 million prize in March.

NPR reports that jackpots have been getting bigger in part because ticket prices recently doubled from $1 to $2.

Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states, including Minnesota.

Meanwhile this week, a Moorhead couple is looking forward to a comfortable retirement after winning a $1.4 million Gopher 5 jackpot.