The Florida Lottery tested its equipment on Wednesday in advance of the record Powerball drawing at 10:59 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- How'd you like to stuff more than a half-billion dollars in your pocket?
A half billion.
Wednesday night's $550 million Powerball jackpot is the game's largest ever and the nation is watching to see who's going to pocket it.
Today, the Florida Lottery opened up the room in its headquarters where the drawing will be held tonight at 10:59 so reporters could get a glimpse of the preparations.
The Powerball machines were humming as workers loaded sample balls into the clear containers and tested the equipment for the colossal drawing.
All you have to do is match the numbers on five white balls and also match the number on a single red ball.
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Sound impossible? The odds are 1 in 175 million.
But after 15 rollovers dating back to early October, you know someone in the 42 Powerball states is finally going to win.
Maybe it'll be a Floridian.
"Florida has the highest percentage of sales of any state out of the 42-member Lottery states, including the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands. We have about 19 percent of the sales nationwide for Powerball. In addition to that, we've awarded $644 million in prizes since joining Powerball in 2009," said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell.
Powerball sales are surging Wednesday. In Florida alone, players are buying up 9,300 tickets a minute. O'Connell expects sales to top 25,000 tickets a minute as the drawing draws closer.
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And she's offering some advice.
"We're telling our players and Floridians to play responsibly. You need to have fun. It's great entertainment, but play responsibly. In addition we want them to guard their ticket, to make sure they sign the back of their ticket, to take precautions after the drawing should they win."
So far, Florida players have bought the most tickets of any state during this series of rollovers for Powerball -- more than $100 million.
O'Connell says the 15 rollovers will generate an extra $45 million for education in Florida.
"That's what we do. It's our core mission. That's why we come to work every day to help fund education."
The all-time record lottery jackpot was a Mega Millions drawing worth $656 million earlier this year.
First Coast News