CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The record Powerball jackpot just keeps rising. It now stands at $550 million after officials say brisk sales keep driving up the payout amount.
The jackpot was boosted to $500 million on Tuesday and raised again Wednesday morning to $550 million.
A winner taking the cash option would get $360.2 million before taxes.
The numbers are an estimate, and could be increased again as the drawing nears.
Powerball officials say they now believe there is a 75 percent chance that the winning combination of numbers will be drawn Wednesday night.
Powerball hopefulls crowd Charlotte retailers
People hoping to become instant multi-millionaires packed Charlotte area convenience stores Wednesday.
Many lottery players chose to trust their chance at $550M with The Pop Shoppe, the gas station, at the corner of Old Pineville and Woodlawn Roads, is considered "lucky" around Charlotte.
"We sell a lot of tickets, and we pay out a lot of money to winners," explained The Pop Shoppe owner Denis Arnautovic, "It's a chance at a dollar and a dream. Well, in this case, a dollar and a lot of dreams."
When NBC Charlotte asked the N.C. Education Lottery Commission about "lucky" stores in the area, a spokesperson explained they don't subscribe to the idea of luck. However, he did suggest visiting The Pop Shoppe due to the high payout to ticket sales ratio.
Most of the people purchasing tickets said they would pay off bills, travel, buy a new house or car and set up college funds for children if they won.
In the six years North Carolina has participated in Powerball, there have been three jackpot winning tickets bought in the state.
Lottery officials say, nationwide, 105,000 tickets are being sold every minute leading up to the half-billion dollar drawing. They expect a total of $190million worth of tickets to be sold for this jackpot.
Powerball sales for Wednesday's drawing end at 9:59 p.m.
Record Powerball jackpot drives many to buy tickets
Mike Patel’s business is booming. He manages the Lottery Mart on West Sugar Creek Road, and is busy with lottery customers who are hoping to take home the largest Powerball payout ever.
“This is an astronomical amount, and so I need to buy five,” he said.
Patel says he expects Wednesday will be his biggest Powerball day of the year, as more people begin to ask themselves the question, ‘What if?’
“We all ask that question. But the final says is the man upstairs. He decides all of that. He’s the one who says, ‘OK, you’re the winner,’” he said.
“Everybody’s got a shot,” said Marquise Hilton.
Hilton bought one ticket and says he realizes his chances of winning are slim. But what if he won?
“Like I told everyone, If I won or came into money, I’d buy my grandmother’s house for her,” he said. “To know you’d be secure and everyone around you would be secure…everyone wants that. Who doesn’t?” he asked.
North Carolina Lottery officials say the chances of winning the big jackpot are 1 in 175 million.
“Whoever does win, hopefully he has a good heart and shares it, his wealth, with others. That’s the fundamental thing. That’s human kindness,” said Patel.
Beneficiary information: Where your powerball money goes
The Associated Press contributed to this report.