Powerball lottery jackpot surges to $800M ahead of Saturday drawing

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The Powerball Jackpot Is Up to $800M, But Is It Worth It to Play?

(Reuters) -- The jackpot in the Powerball lottery, already the largest ever payout in North American history, continued to climb, hitting an estimated $800 million on Friday, the operator of the multistate game said.

READ MORE: Powerball winner spends more than $20 million bailing out boyfriend​

The jackpot for Powerball, played in 44 states, Washington, and two U.S. territories, is worth $496 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual payments over 29 years, the Multi-State Lottery Association said on its website. The drawing will be held on Saturday.

See more of this month's lotto fever in the gallery below:

8 PHOTOS
January 2016 massive Powerball jackpot
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Powerball lottery jackpot surges to $800M ahead of Saturday drawing
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)
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 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)
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The jackpot was estimated at $700 million on Thursday, and stood at $500 million on Wednesday, when no one won the previous drawing. Lottery officials and store owners said ticket buyers have stepped up purchases as the payout has grown.

Watch more coverage:

The Worst State For Winning the Powerball Lottery

The last Powerball jackpot winner was in November, when a ticket holder from Tennessee claimed $144.1 million. However, that was far smaller than last year's biggest jackpots of $564.1 million in February and $310.5 million in September.

Data curated by FindTheData

The previous record North American lottery jackpot payout was in March 2012, when $656 million was won in a Mega Millions draw.

See more record-breaking lotto jackpots below:

6 PHOTOS
Biggest lottery jackpots in U.S. history
See Gallery
Powerball lottery jackpot surges to $800M ahead of Saturday drawing

$390 million (Mega Millions)

Anonymous

March 6, 2007
Winning tickets sold in Georgia and New Jersey

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

$399.4 million (Powerball)

Anonymous

Sept. 18, 2013
Winning ticket sold in South Carolina

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

$414 million (Mega Millions)

Raymond Moyer and Robyn Collier

March 18, 2014
Winning tickets sold in Maryland and Florida

(Photo via Mega Millions)

$425.4 million (Powerball)

B. Raymond Buxton

Feb. 19, 2014
Winning ticket sold in California

(Photo via Powerball)

$587.5 million (Powerball) 

Cindy and Mark Hill

Nov. 28, 2012
Winning tickets sold in Missouri and Arizona

(Photo via Powerball)

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