SC Education Lottery officials urge restraint over Powerball jackpot

Published: Jan. 8, 2016 at 9:20 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2016 at 9:20 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's the biggest lottery prize in American history, and players are snapping up tickets at a frantic pace. The Powerball jackpot is now up to $800 million, and could be over the $900 million mark by Saturday night's drawing.

However, the head of South Carolina's Education Lottery is hoping customers will keep things in proper perspective.

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The Powerball jackpot stood at $700 million on Thursday -- that broke the previous top prize record of $656 million set back in 2012 in the Mega Millions contest.

While no one took the grand prize in the latest drawing on Wednesday, Education Lottery officials say more than $100,000 players in this state on that day, won amounts ranging from four bucks up to $50,000.

As more players take another shot at Powerball immortality Friday and Saturday, South Carolina Lottery Director Paula Harper-Bethea is asking them to use some restraint.

"We are really concerned about that," Harper-Bethea said. "We don't just pay lip service to playing responsibly here. All of us, our entire staff has been meeting for the last two days around you know, a billion dollar jackpot if it ever got to that. Controlling peoples' urge to go out and spend more than they have. One thing about South Carolina is that we're a cash only state. So you can't buy a lottery ticket on credit. You can't buy a lottery ticket on a debit card. You have to have cash to buy the lottery ticket."

The director says it would be nice for the Palmetto State to have the grand prize winner because of the trickle down effect. The Department of Revenue would also make money -- as would the ticket seller -- and of course, education. It appears likely there will be at least one more upward adjustment to the jackpot amount by Saturday morning.

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