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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Gamblers betting on the multi-state Powerball lottery this week could win one of the biggest jackpots in the game's history, as the total climbed to $485 million on Tuesday, the Powerball website showed.
The third-largest jackpot in the game's history, at stake for Wednesday's drawing with a $327.7 million cash payout, comes after nearly three months of no jackpot winners.
The last time someone won the jackpot was in the Nov. 29 drawing for $90 million, a Washington woman who bought her first-ever lottery tickets on a whim on Thanksgiving Day.
Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and grow until at least one player comes up with the winning numbers at a twice-weekly draw. The next drawing will take place on Wednesday evening.
The jackpot winners receive either payments over 29 years or a smaller cash lump sum.
The biggest Powerball jackpot awarded by the Multi-State Lottery Association was $590.5 million and went to the holder of a single winning ticket in 2013. The association also operates the Mega Millions jackpot, which awarded a top prize of $656 million three years ago.
Game drawings for Powerball, played in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. in Tallahassee, Florida.
Powerball sales reached nearly $5 billion last year for game tickets that are sold through more than 210,000 lottery terminals. Each ticket costs $2. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 175 million.
Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Richard Chang