Sales grow as Powerball jackpot soars to $900 million

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Powerball Lottery: Big Ideas to Spend the Jackpot

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Powerball jackpot has reached $900 million just hours before Saturday night's drawing.

With sales breaking previous records, the odds are growing that someone will win. But if no one matches all the numbers, the next drawing is expected to soar to $1.3 billion, according to officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game.

SEE ALSO: Things to know about the giant Powerball jackpot

"You can throw out the logic. You can throw out the statistics," Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery, said Friday. "We've never seen jackpots like this. It's a new experience for all of us."

Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot. This kind of huge jackpot was just what lottery officials hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.

The bigger prizes draw more players, who in turn make the jackpots even bigger.

Click through for photos of ticket buyers vying for the big prize:

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January 2016 massive Powerball jackpot
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Sales grow as Powerball jackpot soars to $900 million
7-Eleven store clerk M. Faroqui celebrates after learning the store sold a winning Powerball ticket on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 in Chino Hills, Calif. One winning ticket was sold at the store located in suburban Los Angeles said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for California lottery. The identity of the winner is not yet known. (Will Lester/The Sun via AP)
7-Eleven store clerk M. Faroqui celebrates with customers after learning the store sold a winning Powerball ticket on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 in Chino Hills, Calif. One winning ticket was sold at the store located in suburban Los Angeles said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for California lottery. The identity of the winner is not yet known. (Will Lester/The Sun via AP)
Hundreds gather outside the 7-Eleven, after it was announced the winning Powerball ticket was sold at the store, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 in Chino Hills, Calif. One winning ticket was sold at the store located in suburban Los Angeles said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for California lottery. The identity of the winner is not yet known. (Will Lester/The Sun via AP)
People line up to buy Powerball lottery tickets at Kavanagh Liquors, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in San Lorenzo, Calif. The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing is at least $1.5 billion, the largest lottery jackpot in the world. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Laura Woodward displays the Powerball lottery tickets she bought for her office pool at Lichine's Liquor store, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing to be over $1 billion, the largest lottery jackpot in the world.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
People buy lottery tickets at the Primm Valley Casino Resorts Lotto Store just inside the California border Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, near Primm, Nev. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over $1 billion dollars for the next drawing on Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Patrons line up to buy Powerball lottery tickets outside the Primm Valley Casino Resorts Lotto Store just inside the California border Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, near Primm, Nev. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over 1 billion dollars for the next drawing on Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A sign shows the Powerball jackpot at a gas station Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Miami. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over $1 billion dollars for the next drawing on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Snow falls on a billboard advertising the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in downtown Pittsburgh, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
This is a billboard advertising the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in downtown Pittsburgh, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A tractor-trailer passes by a Kansas Lottery billboard in Topeka, Kan., Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over 1 billion dollars, and the drawing is still two days away. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A sign advertising the Powerball lottery hangs on a store in New York, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The jackpot is so big that billboards around the country have to advertise the prize as $999 million because they're not built to show billions. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A Powerball ticket is sold in a truck stop in Carlisle, Pa., Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over 1 billion dollars. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A customer shows his purchased Powerball tickets at a grocery store in Hialeah, Fla., Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The Powerball jackpot has grown to over 1 billion dollars. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
A Pennsylvania lottery kiosk promotes the record $1.4 billion Powerball Jackpot in a mini-mart in Monroeville, Pa., Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
People walk past a sign advertising the Powerball lottery in New York, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The jackpot is so big that billboards around the country have to advertise the prize as $999 million because they're not built to show billions. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A billboard outside Waverly, Neb., displays the top Powerball prize as $999 million, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. The jackpot of over a billion dollars is so big that billboards around the country have to advertise the prize as $999 million because they're not built to show billions. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016 file photo, Powerball tickets are shown in San Lorenzo, Calif. No ticket matched all six Powerball numbers following the drawing for a record jackpot of nearly $950 million, lottery officials said early Sunday, Jan. 10, boosting the expected payout for the next drawing to a whopping $1.3 billion. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Kimeron Ruszovan as she displays her Powerball quick picks purchased Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Powerball sales are at record numbers for Saturday nights drawing.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Sergio Ponce looks over his Powerball quick picks purchased Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Powerball sales are at record numbers for Saturday nights drawing.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Francisco Figueroa, second from right, buys Powerball lottery tickets at the Blue Bird Liquor store in Hawthorne, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Lottery officials confirmed Friday that Saturday nightâs drawing will be for a record $800 million. The ever-increasing jackpot is a result of strong national sales ever since the jackpot was near $400 million just days ago. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Jay Suthar works the lottery machine at Pine Liquors in Fort Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. With Powerball sales doubling previous records, the odds are growing that someone will win Saturdayâs $800 million jackpot, but if no one matches all the lottery numbers, next weekâs drawing is expected to soar past $1 billion. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A Powerball lottery card rests on a table, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Lottery officials say sales have been robust since no one won Wednesday's estimated $500 million jackpot. It will be the biggest U.S. jackpot ever, beyond the previous record of a $656 million Mega Millions prize won in 2012 by players in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
A woman purchases a Powerball lottery ticket at a convenience store in Washington, DC, January 7, 2016. Lottery officials predict Saturday's jackpot will reach $700 million, the largest in history. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign in the window of a liquor store shows the Powerball lottery jackpot at $700 million in Washington, DC, on January 7, 2016. The largest jackpot in lottery history, a whopping $700 million, is up for grabs in the United States on Saturday, driving feverish excitement among lotto players dreaming of becoming millionaires. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A billboard displays the estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Miami. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $500 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Jose Garrido shows his Powerball tickets, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at a local grocery store in Hialeah, Fla. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $500 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
A clerk hands over a Powerball ticket to a customer, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at a local grocery store in Hialeah, Fla. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $500 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 11: A Powerball lottery ticket is printed for a customer at a 7-Eleven store on February 11, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Ticket sales have caused the jackpot to grow $500 million, one of the largest in the game's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 11: Kirk Cook rings up a Powerball lottery ticket sale at a 7-Eleven store on February 11, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Ticket sales have caused the jackpot to grow $500 million, one of the largest in the game's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DUNKIRK, MD - JANUARY 06: With the Jackpot now at 500 million, Sherrie Haines sells a Powerball ticket to Robert Sweeney at the BP gas station, January 6, 2015 in Dunkirk, Maryland. People are visitingÃlottery counters across the area with hopes of hitting it big in tonights Powerball drawing. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
DUNKIRK, MD - JANUARY 06: With the Jackpot now at 500 million, Gale Call (L) and Sherrie Haines (C) sell a Powerball ticket to Mike Nastasi (R) at the BP gas station, January 6, 2015 in Dunkirk, Maryland. People are visitingÃlottery counters across the area with hopes of hitting it big in tonights Powerball drawing. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A person purchase Powerball lottery tickets from a newsstand Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Philadelphia. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A man purchases a Powerball lottery ticket at a liquor store in Washington, DC, January 4, 2016. Lottery officials predict the January 6 jackpot will reach $400 million, one of the largest in the game's history. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, a sign shows the estimated Powerball jackpot in Spring, Texas. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Powerball selection number selection slips are pictured at a store in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $450 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A billboards displays the current worth of a winning Powerball lottery ticket Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Springfield, Ill. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
A sign advertising Powerball tickets is pictured next to a display of instant lottery tickets in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $450 million. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Chris Huntsman, of Tulsa, Okla., displays his Powerball ticket at a store in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $450 million. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Jermaine Emory Mallory fills out a Powerball number selection slip at a store in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $450 million. No one has won the big prize in two months and officials say the jackpot is now the sixth-largest ever in North America. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A billboard displays the estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A convenience store employee holds a Powerball lottery ticket in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Multi-State Lottery Association officials say the Powerball jackpot is up to $450 million for Wednesday night's drawing. It's the largest lottery jackpot in nearly a year and the sixth-largest ever in North America. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Powerball play slips are stacked up in a store in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Jermaine Emory Mallory displays his Powerball ticket at a store in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The estimated Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night has soared to $450 million. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year. The last time Powerball had grown this large was in February 2015, when three winners split a $564.1 million prize. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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So many people were buying Powerball tickets in Iowa on Friday that lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said some stores were running out of paper for tickets, leaving lottery workers scrambling to resupply the outlets.

The odds are a matter of statistics and probability, but they're facts that most players may not completely understand, said Ron Wasserstein, executive director of the Alexandria, Virginia-based American Statistical Association.

"Once you get numbers that size, it's hard for people to wrap their minds around them," Wasserstein said.

It's not like players ever had a great shot at winning a jackpot, but by lengthening the odds, he said, "you take odds that were really, really small before, and now they're nearly twice as small as they were before."

Players in Lincoln, Nebraska, said they don't expect to win, but most noted that eventually, someone will take home all that money.

Gary Diaz of Lincoln said he's bought one or two Powerball tickets every week since a group of his co-workers won a lottery jackpot in 2004.

"Ever since then, I go, hell, if it happened once, it's gotta happen again," Diaz said. "It's all by chance."

Bashir Rahman, a chef from Moscow, Idaho, who was traveling through Nebraska, said he decided to buy a couple tickets at a Casey's gas station in Lincoln, but he realizes it's a long, long shot.

"You buy more than two, you're just stupid," he said.

Wasserstein said he understands why so many people buy Powerball tickets, calling it a small price for a chance to dream of immense riches. But Wasserstein said he and his colleagues know too well the nearly impossible odds to plunk down even $2 for a ticket.

"I can assure you," he said, "there is no office pool for the lottery at the American Statistical Association."

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Associated Press writer Anna Gronewold in Lincoln, Nebraska, contributed to this report.

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Follow Scott McFetridge at: https://twitter.com/smcfetridge .


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