Raleigh, N.C. — What could you do with a half-billion dollars?
International travel, exotic cars, real estate and jewelry bling topped the list of people shopping for tickets around the Triangle Wednesday as the Powerball jackpot topped $550 million (that's $327 million before taxes if you take the cash option).
What they said
"I've never been out of the country, so that's what I would like to do," said Sonya Watson of Raleigh.
"I'm going to buy me a brand new Lamborghini, Maserati, go on vacation. I'm going to travel around the world," said Danny Bell of Rocky Mount.
How to spend it
Sonya Morales, a Maserati saleswoman, suggested a 2013 model for just $140,000.
"It's completely loaded. It's got navigation, heated seats. It's got the 4.7 V8 engine. It's just completely put together. It's a hand-built car by Maserati," she said.
Clyde Bailey, owner and president of Bailey's Fine Jewelry, pitched what he called "a little starter kit" worth $405,000.
He noted that Powerball winners would probably meet lots of people and do lots of interviews.
"You want to be dripping in absolutely gorgeous jewelry," he said. "It would be a terrible embarrassment not to, to have that kind of money and not have this magnificent jewelry."
For winners who want to get away, a five-bedroom, nine-bath home on Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh is selling for $3 million. It comes with a full guest suite.
Where the winners are
Want to improve your chances of winning Wednesday’s record-breaking Powerball jackpot?
You may want to think about moving – quickly – to the Midwest. Since Powerball tickets first went on sale nearly a quarter century ago, 26 percent of the people who have claimed jackpots have lived in Indiana, Missouri or Minnesota, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Indiana leads all states with 38 jackpot winners, while Missouri and Minnesota have 26 and 21, respectively. The Hoosier State and Show Me State have been selling Powerball tickets since 1988, and Minnesota joined the Powerball frenzy in 1990.
North Carolina, which began selling Powerball tickets in 2006, has had three winners, the last of which came in 2010 when an Asheville man won $141 million.
Nearby states have also had long odds when it comes to securing Powerball winners, with Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina combining for 10 winners.
Aside from Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota, only seven states have double-digit jackpot winners. Seven states that sell the $2 tickets have never had a winner.
Wednesday’s jackpot, which could reach $550 million by the time sales end at 9:59 p.m., is the second-highest lottery jackpot in history, trailing only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in April.
North Carolina Lottery spokesman Van Denton said Tuesday that sales for the current jackpot have reached $28.1 million since the last winner on Oct. 6.
Denton said sales for the three days prior to last Saturday's drawing reached $5.2 million, which is the highest three-day take during the period.
The state sold $17.6 million in tickets on March 30, when the Mega Millions jackpot hit $656 million.
A single Powerball winner choosing the cash option would get more than $327 million before taxes.