Americans queue for shot at $300m rollover

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Much of America was gripped by lottery fever yesterday after a rollover gave punters the chance to win almost $300m (£207m) in the Powerball draw tomorrow.

The unofficial prize for the draw yesterday stood at about $280m, though the game's organisers believe this will rise even further "That's a conservative estimate at this point,'' said Joe Mahoney, of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees the game.

The Powerball lottery game is played in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and yesterday there were reports of people queuing for tickets, even though their chances of hitting the jackpot stood at one in eighty million. In Des Moines, Iowa, the Rev Clarence Dameron claimed his odds were a little better than most. "The Lord knows my heart,'' he said. "I could do a lot for the Lord. I would do so much for this community.''

Jane Baker, also queuing for a ticket, said the odds were "about the same as getting struck by lightning. But I think the outcome is better."

The jackpot has risen to such a figure because no tickets drawn on Wednesday matched all six numbers.

The biggest Powerball jackpot was the $295.7m won in 1998 by a group of factory workers in Ohio.