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$320 million Powerball numbers released

By Chris Boyette, CNN
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Wed August 15, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • It may take several hours to determine whether anybody won
  • It's held in 42 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia
  • The game's largest prize to date was $365 million

(CNN) -- Quick, check your tickets!

The $320 million Powerball numbers just came out at about 11 p.m. ET. The winning numbers are 6,27,46,51,56 and 21.

It may take several hours for officials to determine whether anybody won the enormous national lottery drawing, which is held in 42 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

Why you keep playing the lottery

The prize swelled Saturday after no one hit all six numbers.

The game's largest prize to date was $365 million, which was awarded in 2006 to a group of eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant.

In 2005, a group of four in Oregon won a $340 million jackpot -- considered the second largest.

Those record drawings happened when the cost for a Powerball ticket was $1. In January, the price increased to $2, with officials saying it would lead to an increased number of large jackpots. At the same time, the odds improved somewhat because officials reduced the number of red balls -- the powerballs -- from 39 to 35.

Earlier this year, Louise White, an 81-year-old Rhode Island resident, came forward as the winner of a $336.4 million prize, the third largest in the game's history.

"I'm very happy and I'm very proud," she said. "We are truly blessed. Thank you."

White bought the winning ticket in February in Newport, Rhode Island, after a family member had a craving for rainbow sherbet and brought her to a store where she purchased the ticket.

Ted Talks: How to buy happiness

After realizing she had won, White tucked the winning ticket into her Bible and went to sleep holding the book, bringing it with her to breakfast the next day until she could eventually store it in a safe deposit box, before claiming her winnings.

At $320 million, the Powerball pot still has ways to go to catch MegaMillions at the top of the list of U.S. grand prizes. In March, three tickets were sold for a drawing with the top prize of $656 million.

Does winning the lottery guarantee happiness?

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