Powerball Lottery: The $400 Million Temptation

Executive director of the South Carolina Education Lottery welcomes new players to the game.
3:00 | 02/19/14

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Transcript for Powerball Lottery: The $400 Million Temptation
This is a special -- Report from ABC. I'm Michelle -- and a New York with this ABC news digital special report. Lotto fever is burning -- tonight's powerball jackpot is an estimated 400. Million dollars. The sixth largest in US history ABC's Devin Dwyer has been catching up when everyone out there to buy their lucky ticket and joins us now with more DeVon. -- -- -- -- Hey Michelle I do indeed have -- you know there hasn't that a big powerball jackpot winner since just after Christmas and today people have been streaming into shops. Here in midtown Manhattan and all around the country for the chance to be the first big winner of this year. What would you do with 400 million dollars they pay off my kids homelessness. I would go to India and seeing my -- ailing mother -- media. I don't want to work you would not to work as well. Those dreams could come true and more if you're the winner of tonight's powerball drawing the sixth largest jackpot in US -- 43 states where the game is played people lined up today for a chance to be the first big this year. Your chances of winning the jackpot won in 175. Million but you've got to be in it to win it. Experts say buying more tickets doesn't significantly boost your chances but how you pick your numbers could there is no secret. Random is just as bad as curriculum was so that I just picked up because the numbers. -- machines powerball officials say about 80% of people let the computer do the work. And about 80% of winners had their numbers picked by computer -- lucky coincidence I loved to play. -- can't you can't. If you don't play if you win the lump sum cash payment he'll pocket a suite 228. Million dollars that's enough to do some good and have a little fun just ask David America Herrick who won the 122. Million dollar jackpot -- last year. It's been a world where it's been. -- Someone. On most people. As the world home. Still some people say the statistics show the lottery is a losing bet tonight they're keeping their wallets closed the house always wins. So to me it's not really worth it. If nobody matches all those numbers tonight the jackpot will only get bigger -- that extra line. Of course is on Saturday but Michelle I gotta tell -- I don't think grieving and need to get to that because I about the winners. Right here. Or Idaho one of those is my ticket to -- still need to get one. So for more on how all this is going to play out tonight -- wanna bring an executive director of South Carolina lottery -- harper but tea thank you for joining us can you give us an idea of how -- -- kids you've sold so far. We sold a lot of tickets today and and we clearly have sold more than we did last week when weather had us in its -- -- -- Today it's 77 and sunny South Carolina and that has -- for really good sales day for this 400 million dollar jackpot. Great well of course you're one of 42 other states along with Washington DC in the Virgin Islands that plays this. How many combinations. Do you think there could be out there of numbers when he numbers. Oh my gosh Michelle so me that that the difference is that as the jackpot gets larger and more people play the coverage of the numbers is greater and so the greater. The the incidence of the jackpot beings yet. I heard you talking earlier about the jackpot if it -- tonight then the jackpot now on Saturday will be -- hundred million dollars. Which is a significant increase that seems amazing let's talk a little bit more about the weather and do you think it had a direct impact all those winter days those snowy days and that for dropping off of people buying tickets. Well I can tell you that the last time we had a powerball jackpot at 400 million it only took us twelve -- -- to get to that man out. This time it's taken a sixteen drawl is to get 400 million dollars and so. Clearly you know that something was going down in sales we had a winter storm gripped the south last week -- -- -- thing we've had in a long long Tom. And we know that it affected sales how much we're not exactly sure. But I think that tells the story if you had a 400 million dollar jackpot before that got to 400 -- and twelve draws. This was taken sixteen then you know that sales are being affected. The extreme weather we've had all over the United States -- -- Yeah of course this would be the first winning powerball ticket under this year it's been since Christmas time as you mentioned. It's like the jackpot has been just swelling more and more for the past few years why is that. Well we made some changes to our game. And that has increased the -- of the jackpot. -- we listen to our players and you know they are some players who simply play the jackpot games and we heard them say they want -- larger jackpots and so we make some changes to the game which have been able these jackpots to grow. And with that growth comes sales in state -- I'm monies are used for such good causes in South Carolina -- to education and it makes a significant difference for. A lot of people we talk a lot about the beneficiaries here. To get college and at college scholarships and Kate to a twelve assistance and that sort of thing so. When we have a jackpot like this it's it's it's great for our players and obviously we care about -- it's great for our retailers and it's great for our individual states and and regions I think Paula some of the changes you're talking about is of course the ticket prices going up from one dollar two dollars and also California joining that powerball. Sort of party that's happening. Absolutely we were glad to welcome California and now when we did go from a one dollar. Ticket to a two dollar ticket and then of course you can about power play for an extra dollar so you need to spend two dollars or you spend three dollars on your powerball tickets and it's just made a -- top players love it and and -- California has been great so with those changes are you showing that don't more people are actually join in in the pot. Buying lottery tickets or fewer. Well what we signed Diaz when you get to a jackpot of 30400. Million dollars. It attracts first time players to the -- -- That's what we all -- we we don't encourage people who -- playing to play more. We love to welcome new players to our -- and and that's what we see what I jackpots get to 30400. Me and it's really a wonderful feeling to know that. -- players are playing. And you know for two dollars. It's something that they can do and have -- and Paula are you able to join in all -- fund and you get a ticket are you getting it again. I am not but I have a great Tom -- others and in our satisfaction comes from knowing what we can do on the back -- end. So it's it's not a problem but no I cannot flight. Well certainly -- the fever so you have to transforming myself you know. -- ticket -- better get the fever quickly but it's nice to know that the fever is out there especially with all this cold weather we've been having so certainly. Some fund and we can put our money so Paula thank you so much jointly. Executive director of South Carolina lottery -- harbor but they you -- of course get a complete recap right here an abcnews.com. Good luck to all of you ticket holders for now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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