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Lottery fever as Powerball jackpot soars to $800m

The record Powerball jackpot has climbed to 800 million US dollars (£550 million) as sales soar ahead of the draw.

Multi-State Lottery Association officials have raised the estimated jackpot for Saturday night's draw from 700 million dollars (£481 million) because of strong sales, said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery.

Powerball sales on Thursday were double the previous record for that day and it is possible the estimated jackpot could rise again before the draw, Mr Grief said.

A winner would have the option of being paid 800 million dollars through annual payments over 29 years or opting for 496 million dollars (£341 million) in cash.

Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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