The nationwide rush to buy tickets for Wednesday's Powerball drawing has driven the jackpot from $400 million to $425 million, the game's third highest.
The winning numbers will be drawn at 10:59 p.m. Lottery officials in South Carolina are reporting brisk ticket sales statewide.
"Four months ago we were talking about a record breaking Powerball jackpot, and here we are again chasing history," said the Lottery's Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea. "Obviously, this is very exciting for our players, but we want to urge those new to the game and those loyal to Powerball® to please play responsibly."
The odds of winning it all are long, about 1 in 176 million.
The game's record jackpot of $590.5 million in May was won by a player in Florida.
It's been four years this month since South Carolina has celebrated a jackpot win. If it happens tonight, the winner has the option to take a $244 million cash payout or the annuity, which works out to the full jackpot paid out in 30 installments over 29 years.
In addition to the jackpot, there are eight prize levels ranging from $4 to $2 million. For an extra $1, players can add Power Play to their wager. Power Play is a feature that increases non-jackpot prizes with an automatic prize of $2 million for matching the five white balls. Players must add the Power Play option to their Powerball play slips or tell the retailer that they wish to purchase a Powerball ticket with Power Play.
"We want to sell that jackpot winning ticket, but if we don't, education is always a winner. Every Powerball ticket sold generates additional revenue for education, and we have committed $3.1 billion to that cause," added Bethea.