Tri-Cities residents snatch up Powerball tickets

<p>Lottery Sales</p>

Lottery Sales

Millions of people nationwide are dreaming of big bucks tonight, as the Powerball jackpot climbs to $550 million.

Kennewick's Bennie Bruno rarely plays the lottery.

But he's playing today, "cuz of the high numbers in the Powerball. It's worth the risk" said Bruno.

On Saturday, the jackpot was $325 million, but because of a surge in ticket sales, it bumped up to $425 million on Sunday, then $500 million yesterday, and $550 million today.

Lottery players in the Tri-Cities who are buying tickets say they're already making plans for the money if they win.

"Pay off bills, buy new cars, set up funds for kids, that kind of stuff" said Rae Prue.

"I want to buy an island. That sounds good to me" said Frances Montgomery.

"I have a list of 50 people. I'm gonna give them each $1 million, and then I'm gonna take off and travel the world and never be seen again" said Jamey St. Peter.

The huge jackpot is the largest in the world right now, and its the second largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

"It's such a large amount of money that it's almost incomprehensible" said Mary Fry.

The Yoke's in Kennewick has been busy all day, with a steady flow of customers buying tickets.

The store's manager has even brought in additional employees to staff the lottery booth.

"It's been very good. Yesterday, we sold over $2,000 worth of Powerball and added two extra help, two extra people to come in today for the added sales. So it's been very good" said Steve Beckman, store manager.

Those buying tickets today say the odds may be against them, but they're staying hopeful their ticket could be a winner.

"At least I have a chance" said Bruno.

The odds of winning tonight's $550 million Powerball jackpot are one in 175 million.

After taxes, the actual cash value of the winnings is around $360 million.