CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Last weekend's record-setting $600 million Powerball jackpot also brought record ticket sales within West Virginia, as well as more than $2 million in prizes for state residents.
West Virginians bought 1.5 million Powerball tickets for Saturday's drawing, adding up to about $3.3 million in sales. State retailers sold an average 1,100 tickets per minute in the hours leading up to Saturday night's drawing.
That brought total weekly sales to $4.6 million, the highest since the Multi-State Lottery Commission revamped the lottery game in January 2012.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission sells about $899,000 in Powerball tickets during an average week.
While last week's sales are not an all-time record -- the state sold $23.1 million in Powerball tickets back in 2001 when no surrounding states had the game -- the totals are the highest since the multi-state organization doubled the price of tickets last year in hopes of boosting the game's popularity.
Although ticket prices went from $1 to $2, the lottery game's minimum jackpot and players' odds of winning also increased.
West Virginia Lottery spokesman Randy Burnside said those changes are working exactly as planned.
"The way the game was revamped, we're seeing these record jackpots, and these jackpots build quicker, too," he said.