Powerball mania has once again struck the state as residents seek their 1 in 175 million chance of purchasing that $425 million winning Powerball ticket.
Citing strong nationwide sales, Multi-State Lottery Association officials on Tuesday raised the estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball drawing from $400 to $425 million.
The new jackpot, which also has one-time lump-sum payout option of $244.7 million, is the third-highest in Powerball history, and is the fourth-highest jackpot of any U.S. lottery game.
It is also the fourth time in the last 18 months that a Powerball or MegaMillions jackpot has surpassed the $400 million mark.
And just like they did the last three times, local residents are shelling out cash their chance(s) to claim the prize.
"Whenever the jackpot gets above $300 million, and then above $400 million, ticket sales always increase dramatically," West Virginia Lottery spokesman Randy Burnside said.
That's good news for the state Lottery, even if no one claims the prize.
State retailers sold more than $4 million worth of Powerball tickets ahead of Powerball's record $588 million jackpot drawing last November.
That four-day total bested the $3.8 million worth of tickets sold for Powerball, MegaMillions and Hot Lotto games during the entire month of October last year.
In fact, during that drawing's peak sales time period, state retailers were logging more than 1,200 Powerball transactions per minute. At a minimum of $2 per transaction, that meant retailers statewide were selling at least $40 worth of Powerball tickets every second.
Burnside didn't have hourly sales figures Tuesday afternoon, but he said Lottery officials were expecting a similar sales peak heading into Wednesday evening's drawing.
"The highest (sales) point is usually during the drive home time on the day of the actual drawing," he said. "That's when we usually get the largest sales rate for the state."
Sales also peak around morning commute times and during the lunch hour.
While Lottery officials hope a West Virginia resident will hit it big in Wednesday's drawing, Burnside said the state could face a perfect storm should no one win the jackpot in this drawing.
"If it rolls again and no one hits it on Wednesday, you're looking at an even bigger super-jackpot come Saturday," Burnside said.