- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

CAMPBELLTON, Fla. - (AP) - South Alabama residents with dreams of striking it rich are heading across the Florida line to stores that sell Powerball tickets.

The estimated prize for this weekend’s Powerball drawing has grown to about $700 million — the largest jackpot of any lottery game in U.S. history, a lottery official said Thursday.

Powerball is played in 44 states, but the tickets aren’t sold in Alabama.

Several residents from southeast Alabama traveled across the Florida line to stores that sold Powerball tickets on Wednesday, The Dothan Eagle reported (bit.ly/1IT2M3P).

The odds of winning the jackpot have been about one in 292.2 million.

Those long odds haven’t stopped Alabama residents from scooping up Powerball tickets at Panhandle Package Inc. in Campbellton, Florida, just across the Alabama state line, the Alabama newspaper reported.

“Every other year when the jackpot is up we see a lot of people from Alabama coming by,” said Panhandle Package clerk Maulik Chaudhari.

Dothan resident Mary Porter said she hadn’t traveled “to the line” to play for years.

“I figured if (Powerball) was up this month that I wanted to try for my piece, too,” she said.

Porter said she wanted to give 10 percent of her winnings to a church if she came out victorious in the drawing.

“I believe gambling is wrong, but I also believe God will still love me, and I don’t know a preacher that would turn that kind of money down if I gave it,” she said.


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