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Gigantic Powerball jackpot: 3 tickets were winners

Last Updated Feb 12, 2015 8:01 AM EST

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas matched all six numbers to split a $564.1 million Powerball jackpot, lottery officials said Thursday.

Sue Dooley, senior drawing manager and production coordinator for the Multi-State Lottery Association, said the Puerto Rico ticket was the first Powerball jackpot winner ever sold outside the continental United States.

Puerto Rico joined Powerball less than a year ago. Besides 44 states and Washington, D.C., the game is also played in the Virgin Islands, but there has never been a jackpot winner there, Dooley said.

The Texas Lottery tweeted early Thursday that one of the winning tickets was sold at Appletree Food Mart in Princeton, Texas. CBS Dallas reports it's a Valero gas station convenience store.

There was no immediate information on the cities or stores that produced the winners in North Carolina or Puerto Rico.

It had been nearly a year since a Powerball prize reached the giant number people have come to expect recently. That was last February, when someone won $425.3 million.

Wednesday's jackpot was the third-largest in Powerball history and the fifth-largest U.S. lottery prize. The last time a Powerball jackpot climbed so high was May 2013, when a Florida ticket won a $590.5 million prize.

Should the winners select the lump sum option, each would get a one-third share of $381,138,450.16 before taxes. The other option is an annuity, under which the lottery would make payments 30 times over 29 years.

The largest payout in U.S. history was to three ticketholders in the Mega Millions game, the other national lottery drawing. That was a $656 million prize won in March 2012 by players in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

In 2012, state officials who run Powerball and Mega Millions changed ticket prices and lowered the odds of winning jackpots in hopes the moves would increase the number of huge prizes and draw more players. The moves worked, causing jackpots to repeatedly climb to record levels. More than half of the top 10 U.S. jackpots have been reached in the past couple of years.

The winning numbers in Wednesday's drawing were: 11, 13, 25, 39, 54 and the Powerball 19.

The jackpot now goes back to $40 million for the next drawing on Saturday.

Ticket sales soared as Wednesday's drawing neared.

People lined up for tickets around the country in hopes they could beat the odds and win the huge prize.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, hundreds of people crowded a grocery store that gave out free tickets during a promotion organized by the Nebraska Lottery.

Truck driver Ron Schuster, of Martell, Nebraska, knows what he'd do with the money. "Pay off all the bills, naturally, buy my wife a new car, put the rest in the bank, and sit around and play video games," he said.

Tawsha Anderson, a nurse in Lincoln, also had some plans mapped out. "First thing I'd have to do is tithe to church, then I think we'd probably move. Buy some land. Pay off our parents' homes. Put some money away for the kids, their college education," Anderson said.