$500 Million Powerball Jackpot is 5th Largest in U.S. History; Milpitas Gas Station Hopes to Sell Winning Ticket Again

The Powerball jackpot has climbed to $500 million, making Wednesday night's drawing the fifth largest prize in U.S. history.

It's been more than two months since someone won the Powerball jackpot, so the prize has been gradually growing from its $40 million starting point. On Wednesday morning, the estimate was at $485 million, but by the afternoon, the pot's total had grown thanks to strong sales, lottery officials said.

The last time Powerball grew nearly so large was February 2014. And that ticket was bought at the Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, where B. Raymond Buxton won $425.3 million, which he claimed in April last year. The retiree said he had bought the ticket while he was getting lunch at the Subway inside the gas station.

On Wednesday morning, other customers flocked to the same gas station, hoping they'd be lucky too.

"I think I'm going to win," one man told NBC Bay Area after buying some jackpot tickets.

Lottery officials are quick to point out that the game is for fun and a chance to dream. They note the chance of winning a Powerball jackpot is about 1 in 175 million.

Powerball revenue has been down slightly during a drought of jackpots, but officials say this big prize has caused sales to surge.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell contributed to this report

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