DES MOINES, Iowa -- At least three people in two states will split the $448 million Powerball jackpot, after two winning tickets were sold in New Jersey and one was sold in Minnesota, lottery officials said Thursday.
No winners immediately came forward to claim the jackpot. Winners in both states have a year from the date of the drawing to do so.
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One of the winning New Jersey tickets was purchased at a Super Stop & Shop store in South Brunswick and the other one was bought at an Acme Markets store in Little Egg Harbor, said Judith Drucker, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery.
The winning Minnesota ticket was sold in Anoka County, which includes the city of Anoka and other suburbs north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota Lottery spokeswoman Debbie Hoffmann said. The exact location wasn't disclosed for security reasons.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 05, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32. During the telecast, Powerball officials announced the jackpot that previously in the day was pegged at $425 million had grown to an estimated $448 million.
Several people were anxiously checking their tickets Thursday morning for would-be winners at the Little Egg Harbor store where one of the tickets was sold.
"I'm just happy someone's life is changing for the positive," said Phil Weber, the director of store, which will receive a portion of the winnings.
Weber wasn't sure what the store's payout would be, though he said he planned to donate a large portion of it to a charity in the area, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in October.
The allure of capturing the latest massive Powerball jackpot had players in a buying frenzy, further confirming a trend that lottery officials say has become the big ticket norm: Fatigued Powerball players, increasingly blasť about smaller payouts, often don't get into the game until the jackpot offers big bucks.
Meghan Graham, a convenience store worker from Brookline, Mass., has purchased nearly a dozen Powerball tickets in recent months thanks to the huge jackpots, and the third largest-ever pot was enough reason to buy again.
"The more it keeps increasing, that means nobody is winning ... a lot of people are going to keep buying tickets and tickets and tickets and you never know, you just might get lucky if you pick the right numbers," she said.
A recent game change intended to build excitement about the lottery increased the frequency of huge jackpots, and Wednesday's jackpot drawing comes only a few months after the biggest Powerball jackpot in history -- a $590 million pot won in Florida by an 84-year-old widow. The second largest Powerball jackpot was won in November and split between two tickets from Arizona and Missouri.
And New Jersey's newest winners join Passaic resident Pedro Quezada, who was the lone winner of the March 23 Powerball drawing. The 44-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic claimed a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.
With a majority of the top 10 Powerball jackpots being reached in the last five years, lottery officials acknowledge smaller jackpots don't create the buzz they once did.
"We certainly do see what we call jackpot fatigue," said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. "I've been around a long time, and remember when a $10 million jackpot in Illinois brought long lines and people from surrounding states to play that game."
The revamp of Powerball in January 2012 changed the price of a ticket from $1 to $2, a move that upped the chances of the game reaching a major jackpot. There was a loss in the number of players, but the new game -- which also created more chances to win smaller, $1 million and $2 million prizes -- has brought in 52 percent more in sales, Strutt said. Sales were $5.9 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June.
Still, the way casual players define a major jackpot has changed. Behavioral economist George Loewenstein, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University, said people judge things in relative terms.
"We compare things," he said. "If there are a lot of jackpots, even though they're all enormous numbers, people are going to start comparing them and if there are billion dollar jackpots, then 100 million jackpots that used to feel enormous are going to seem much smaller, even though in terms of the impact on your life of winning 100 million or 1 billion, it probably isn't all that different."
Though Lisa Ravenell of Philadelphia said the higher jackpot catches her attention. She also noted the frequency of announcements about winners from the area, which she feels contributes to her wanting to buy.
"The 400 million is appealing" the 47-year-old said. "I think deep down inside, more or less, I'd buy it because it's a big amount."
So when jackpots swell, people still line up for their chance at a life-changing payoff, even though their chances at winning the top prize are the same if there is a small jackpot.
Bill Palumbo, 56, of Bellmore, N.Y., is a frequent player who also doesn't wait for a particularly sizable jackpot.
"I'm always in it," he said. "Any way to retire a day early."