Powerball jackpot on a record pace
California sales are the likely cause.
Powerball's jackpot is apparently growing at an unprecedented pace, reaching $165 million after just eight drawings.
In November, on its way to a Powerball record prize of $587 million, the jackpot was just $124 million at the same point, and took two more drawings to reach $168 million.
The leap is all the more impressive because rival Mega Millions has a competitive jackpot, up to $114 million for Tuesday's drawings, for just $1, half the cost of Powerball.
The likely reason for Powerball's big boost in cash flow: California, with 12 percent of the U.S. population, started selling Powerball tickets early this month.
No one hit all the numbers drawn Saturday night -- 3, 23, 48, 54 and 55, with a Powerball of 5 -- though tickets sold in New York and Georgia won $1 million for matching the first five.
So the annuity jackpot rose by $25 million, with the cash payout already reaching nine figures, rising to $107.7 million.
The pace of Powerball's jackpots got a boost early last year, when the cost of a ticket rose to $2, the starting jackpot was doubled to $40 million, and each jackpot rise had a mandated mininum of $10 million.
In fall of 2011, Powerball needed 11 rollovers to reach $170 million.
After the changes, seven jackpots rolled over as many times as the current one, but the highest mark was last April's $152 million. Most of them failed to top $130 million after eight drawings.
California was expected to make a big difference, according to Chuck Strutt, who oversees Powerball as executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
"Long-term, the jackpots will grow faster," he said, explaining that should mean an extra winning jackpot or two a year.
It could also mean more frenzy over skyrocketing jackpots, like November's, which went from $250 million to $587 in just two drawings. Imagine adding California's enormous population to those sales.
Mega Millions. Nobody matched Friday night's numbers -- 17, 42, 49, 54 and 55, with a Mega Ball of 31 -- so the jackpot rose for Tuesday's drawing to $141 million for the annuity, $86 million for the cash.
By the way, that jackpot has survived 13 rollovers. That's two weeks longer than Powerball's current run.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.