So, what does it take for this most advanced civilization in human history to become utterly transfixed by six ping-pong balls? Well, only about half a billion dollars, before taxes. Yes, the pow... See More
So, what does it take for this most advanced civilization in human history to become utterly transfixed by six ping-pong balls? Well, only about half a billion dollars, before taxes. Yes, the pow erpow erball prize was a record setter. As the jackpot swelled, the ticket-buying frenzy topped a rate of 130,000 a minute. After an astounding 16 rollovers, the $580 million question tonight was, would anyone actually win this time? On the dreamer beat, once again tonight, here's abc's ryan owens. Report This is it, a record-breaking jackpot night. Reporter: After all of the hype, the days of breathless anticipation, it comes down to this. 580 million jackpot for you. Reporter: In a television studio in tallahassee, florida, machines spit out six numbers. Numbers that are oh so close, but not quite the ones printed on your ticket. While the reality that almost all of us have lost, yet again, sets in, let's go back to this morning, when we were all about to become half billionaires. "Nightline" spent the day at three of the country's busiest lottery stores. First up, rosenberg, texas. Rudy's stop and shop may look like a shaq plattered with lottery signs, but you're looking at the luckiest spot in the lone star state. There you go. Thank you. Good luck. All right, thanks. Reporter: Its walls are lined with past winners. 10. Reporter: Rudy's owner says last year alone, this one store printed up $22 million in wink tickets. Six, seven and eight. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Have a good day and good luck. I hope so. Reporter: Rosenberg is 40 miles from downtown houston, but thousands happily made theike today. You came a long way. Yes. Veg way. Reporter: Kenneth came from louisiana to buy his ticket. It was the ambience when i drove by. The signs and it pokes out at you. So, you just have to give it a shot. Reporter: And you did. Yes, I did. Reporter: Lots of people also gave it a shot at our next stop, white hills, arizona. It's as remote as it sounds. The middle of nowhere. But it's also arizona's busiest lottery retailer. Because it's on the border of nevada and not far from california. Two states with no powerball. Yesterday alone, they sold more than 100,000 tickets. I'd say the line has to be like about three, three and a half hours. Reporter: Gary made the trek through the desert to get here. Thank you and good luck. Thank you. I have about as much chance as everybody else here. Sure would be nice to win, you know? Reporter: For our third stop, we head east, to methuen, massachusetts. Sure ted's state line mobil is a gas station, but 70% of its business is lottery tickets. 15 million worth last year. Every day, for many years, come here, three times a day. Reporter: Why such loyalty? This place north of boston is more like a lottery lounge. 15 kiosks, plenty of seating and some insration. This is theatest million dollar winner. Reporter: Owner tony says over the years, he's sold 25 grand prizes totaling more than $110 million. Is there a secret to winning? You have to buy a ticket to win. That's the secret. If you don't buy anything, you're not going to win. Reporter: Oh, we are buying, all right. This year alone, americans spent $61 billion on lottery tickets. Up 8.7% from 2011. Where does all the money go? Every state is different, but on average, 58 cents of every dollar goes to prizes. 33 cents are funneled back to state coffers. While most think lotteries fund only case, only 12 out of 44 states use the money solely for that. Back in hall tallahassee, the machines that hold our fate were locked up in a vault. Security cameras trained on them all day. Tonight, as the sun set on the luxiest place in texas, they kept coming, right up until sales stopped just an hou before the big drawing. Take a look at tonight's numbers. Reporter: When so many dreams were put to bed. I'm ryan owens for "nightline" in rosenberg, texas.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.