US

Strong sales increase Powerball jackpot to $500 million, 5th largest prize in US history

  • People wait in line at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., where Powerball tickets were to be handed out for free as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    People wait in line at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., where Powerball tickets were to be handed out for free as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)  (The Associated Press)

  • A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

    A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.  (The Associated Press)

  • David Hanau, of Firth, Neb., poses with a sign as a lottery representative, unseen, takes his photo, at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., where Powerball tickets were handed out for free as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

    David Hanau, of Firth, Neb., poses with a sign as a lottery representative, unseen, takes his photo, at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb., where Powerball tickets were handed out for free as part of a promotion, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.  (The Associated Press)

Officials say the Powerball jackpot has risen to an estimated $500 million, which would make it the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

The lottery raised its jackpot estimate hours before Wednesday night's drawing and has raised it twice since Saturday's drawing by a total of about $105 million.

No one has won the Powerball jackpot for more than two months, so the prize has been growing gradually from its $40 million starting point.

It's been nearly a year since a Powerball prize topped $400 million

Powerball is sold in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The chance of winning a Powerball jackpot is about 1 in 175 million.