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Washington joining Powerball states

Washington residents will be able to buy tickets for the multistate lottery game Powerball this weekend, making Washington one of the latest to join the popular game.

Ticket sales begin Sunday, and the first drawing will be the following Wednesday.

Powerball is similar to Mega Millions, in which players pick six numbers and need to match all six to win the big jackpot.

But the drawings are on different days: Mega Millions numbers are drawn Tuesday and Friday; Powerball will be Wednesday and Saturday. Washington was able to become a Powerball state through new state legislation and permission from the Multi-State Lottery Association. Neighboring states Oregon and Idaho already have Powerball.

Nine other states are joining Powerball this week.

The largest jackpot in Powerball was $365 million won in February 2006, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. He said the average jackpot is $120 million.

Jacque Coe, spokeswoman for Washington State Lottery, said the state hopes to make as much as $30 million a year in Powerball sales within the next few years. She said there is some concern that Powerball will take money away from other state lottery games, but that interest will remain high in Powerball and Mega Millions as the jackpots increase.


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