Second biggest US lottery prize is up for grabs in Powerball drawing

St. Louis (AP)— On Wednesday, Powerball players will try for a near-record $1.73 billion jackpot after 35 straight draws without a winner.

This would be the second-largest U.S. lottery jackpot after a California player won $2.04 billion Powerball in November. The Jan. 13, 2016 $1.586 billion Powerball won by California, Florida, and Tennessee was the previous No. 2.

Powerball's awful chances of 1 in 292.2 million produce massive jackpots, which grow while no one wins. In recent months, victories have been few. It didn't concern those willing to gamble for a long-shot chance of immediate fortune.

A hardware store in Billerica, Massachusetts, sold 40 Powerball tickets to 60-year-old electrician Robert Salvato Jr. “I would take care of family and give my cat that extra leg that she needs and make her a good kitty,” said Salvato, who married Saturday.

Friends Tamara Carter and Denise Davis travelled from Las Vegas to California to buy Powerball tickets because Nevada is one of the five states without it. The wait at their initial destination was too lengthy, so they headed to another business.

“The line was about three hours long,” Carter said. "I waited maybe 30 minutes, and it didn't move." After a dry stretch, the prize grew huge. After 39 draws without a jackpot win, the July 19 Powerball ticket sold for $1.08 billion.

Kevin Button bought a ticket at the same hardware store as Salvato, understanding the chances.

Button claimed he only buys them when the prize is huge. Recent highs seem frequent. I've tried several times and haven't won a free ticket. But this may be the night.”

Powerball tickets cost $2 in most jurisdictions and players can choose their numbers or use a machine.

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