JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Powerball players poured into lottery retailers Wednesday for a last-minute chance at becoming an instant millionaire.
The record jackpot of $550 million had siblings James and Erin Sullivan wondering what they would do with the winnings.
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"Our parents will probably take it," said James. "Yeah, they'll take most of it," Erin laughed.
Even if they don't take home the big prize, James and Erin, will still benefit from the Powerball game as students in Sunshine State.
Since the rollover started in October, the record Powerball series generated $47 million for Florida's education fund. State lottery executives say that's money Florida schools didn't know they would have.
Florida is, I think, the only state that bonds its lottery revenues so we can renovate schools and build new ones," Florida Lottery Deputy Secretary Dennis Harmon told Action News. "Community colleges, university's, and school boards across the state will benefit from the Powerball sales."
Florida's Powerball retailers are celebrating, too. A record 16 million tickets were sold in Florida Wednesday.
"It's been going constant all day long," said Sam Yazji, owner of Grand Central Station market in Arlington. The line inside his store started when he opened, and he'd sold 4,500 Powerball tickets before 6 p.m.
As many as 25,000 tickets were sold per minute across the state Wednesday, and retailers like Yazji make $0.10 for each, plus commission, as well as exposure to new customers.
"By the time they buy a ticket, they may buy something else. Every little bit helps."
Since Powerball was introduced in Florida in 2009, it has grossed $622 million for education in Florida. Despite a price increase from $1 to $2, Powerball sales topped $61 billion nationwide last year, up 35% from the year before. Lottery executives expect that number to continue to grow, even in a tough economy.