In November, after reaching $214 million in November, it rose to $250 million, then $325 million, then skyrocketed to a Powerball record of $540 million.
In U.S. lottery history, only the March 30, 2012, Mega Millions jackpot was bigger - $656 million.
Fueling the prospects for lottery fever is a much smaller top prize for Mega Millions, Powerball's main rival.
A ticket sold at the Deli 4 Less in Westlake, Ohio, hit the $41 million jackpot on Tuesday night, and word came Wednesday that it was won by a pool of 14 members of the accounting department at a truck stop called Travel Centers of America.
They matched all the numbers: 9, 12, 19, 20 and 30, with a Mega Ball of 39.
As a result, the Mega Millions jackpot for Friday's drawing will reboot to $12 million.
Matching all but the Mega Ball were four tickets, sold in Maryland, New York, Louisiana and California.
For more on lotteries, go to www.philly.com/philly/news/lottery, www.powerball.com or www.megamillions.com.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.