ATLANTA -- The Big Game lottery jackpot, already the largest in U.S. lottery history, grew to $325 million today.
Lottery officials from the seven states where the game is played conferred by telephone this morning and pushed the prize higher based on strong weekend sales, said Tandi Reddick, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Lottery Corp., which administers the game.
The jackpot had swelled to $300 million after no one matched all six numbers in Friday night's drawing.
The final estimate for Tuesday night's jackpot will be made that morning, and the number could be even higher if there is a rush on lottery machines before the 11 p.m. EDT drawing.
''If sales are going strong or are higher than anticipated or if the bond interest rates go higher -- that also helps us increase the jackpot,'' said Virginia Haines, New Jersey Lottery executive director.
The nation's previous record lottery jackpot was $295.7 million, set in the multistate Powerball game in 1998. That prize was shared by 13 machinists from Westerville, Ohio.
The frantic pace of ticket sales leading up to Friday's drawing had increased the jackpot from $230 million to $250 million just in the hours before that night's numbers were picked.
Total sales from last Tuesday's drawing to Friday night exceeded $122 million. New Jersey led with sales of nearly $34 million. The game also is played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia.
Haines attributed record New Jersey sales to large volumes of ticket buyers from New York and Pennsylvania, states which don't participate in multistate games.
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