At least three winning tickets – two in New Jersey and one in Minnesota – were sold for Wednesday's $448 million Powerball jackpot.
The jackpot, the third largest Powerball and fourth largest lottery prize in history, comes after a series of record-breaking prizes since lottery officials doubled Powerball ticket prices from $1 to $2 in January 2012.
"You could see maybe in the next several years… an elusive billion-dollar jackpot," Victor Matheson, an economics professor at College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told CNN. Had there been no winner Wednesday, the jackpot would have risen to an estimated $600 million.
The all-time high lottery prize came in March 2012: A $656 million Mega Millions jackpot split between three winners in Kansas, Illinois and Kansas.
The next three largest lottery prizes, including Wednesday's jackpot, have come in the past nine months. In May, an 84-year-old Florida woman became the sole winner of a $590 million Powerball jackpot. A $587 million Powerball jackpot was split between winners in Missouri and Arizona in November 2012.
The winning tickets in New Jersey were sold at a Super Stop N Shop in South Brunswick and an Acme Markets in Little Egg Harbor, reported The Star Ledger.
"We have a core group of people who religiously buy tickets," a Super Stop N Shop employee told WINS-FM. "We have a lot of older people who buy lottery tickets, so my guess it's an older person."
The third ticket was sold at an unknown location in Anoka County, Minn., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
"It's been a lucky year for the Powerball," said Chuck Strutt, head of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Powerball profits have jumped more than 50 percent since ticket prices doubled, and ranked in $5.9 billion in fiscal year 2012.
The winning numbers were 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32. The chances of winning were only 1 in about 175 million. Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.