JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Dreams of winning big are pushing the Powerball jackpot even higher as players are anxiously awaiting the Wednesday, January 5 drawing. 12 News reporter Jailen Leavell spoke with Mississippi Lottery President Jeff Hewitt.

LEAVELL:

There is $610-million (currently at $630-million) on the line for Mississippians. Tell us a little more about the excitement.

HEWITT:

Well, it really is, and this is a nationwide phenomenon. I traveled through Alabama to Mississippi on Sunday and I’ll tell you, the lines at the stores there were already picking up then. For tonight, $610-million (currently $630-million), I think people are really going to get excited. I don’t know if they’re going to raise the jackpot before the drawing, but with the excitement, it’s very possible.

LEAVELL:

Talk to me about how many people you guys have seen purchasing tickets. Is there a large influx at this time? What’s that looking like?

HEWITT:

We don’t see it, the retailers see it. They’re probably seeing more than we see it here locally in Flowood but we know there’s excitement. We see the numbers coming in and we see the transactions that are taking place. We know there’s a lot of excitement building for this game tonight.

LEAVELL:

This is the 40th draw. Talk about why so many draws. Why isn’t there a winner yet?

HEWITT:

Well, it’s a lottery game. It’s just odds. Even with so many people playing, there are so many different possible combinations. It really all depends on the coverage out there. All those different possible combinations that could be picked. It’s just the luck of the draw. It’ll be exciting to see if it gets hit or if it rolls. If it hits, it’ll be exciting to see where it happens.

LEAVELL:

For our viewers, what should they know about this? I’m sure people are going to watch this and immediately flock to go buy tickets. What should they know to have that winning ticket?

HEWITT:

You have to play to win. It’s really important to us that people understand that you have to play responsibly. It’s really easy to get caught up in that excitement, especially when you talk about that amount of money. But to us at the lottery, we do want people to play. We do want people to enjoy our products. But, it’s very important tp us that people play responsibly.

LEAVELL:

$610-million (currently $630-million) is on the line. Is there anything I didn’t ask that our viewers should know?

HEWITT:

Play and have fun. Be responsible. We have a lot of fun products out there. Three new scratch games came out yesterday. We’ve got a new cash for game coming out next Monday. We’ve got a lot of exciting products. We wish everyone luck. If there’s a winner, we sure hope it’s in Mississippi.