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Tonight's Powerball jackpot is 7th largest in U.S. history

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot is the 7th-largest in U.S. history, at $360 million.

It used to take a few months for the jackpot to get this high. But this one only took about six weeks to grow.

It’s partially because the price of a Powerball ticket doubled from $1 to $2 almost a year-and-a-half ago.

Also at that time, it got easier to win some type of prize, but harder to win the jackpot – with the odds now being 175 million to one.

Mary Neubauer of the Iowa Lottery said states that sell both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets – like Wisconsin – can cross-sell those games, thus raising more for the games with the highest jackpots.

Middleton insurance agent Joe Williams won $500 playing Powerball a few years ago, and is looking for Lady Luck to strike harder. He spends $4 each time on the Quick Pick option. Williams says he knows it makes no sense rationally – but without a ticket, he’d have no chance to win.

Wednesday night’s cash option is just over $229 million for a single winner who takes the whole prize now instead of in 30 annual installments. The drawing is at 9:59 p.m.

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