Fayetteville, it’s time to get those North Carolina Education Lottery Powerball tickets, as Saturday night’s jackpot has soared to $1.6 billion!

It’s now the largest jackpot in United States lottery history!

“We have never seen a jackpot of this size before in the 30-year history of the Powerball game,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Players dream of winning a jackpot like this. We are all hoping that a player in North Carolina sees that dream come true this Saturday night.”

And if you’re not into the whole spreading out payments over the years of the annuity, you could take the lump sum of a measly $782.4 million. After taxes and all that, you’re probably looking at close to $400-$500 million. Not bad for one lottery ticket’s work.

“The beauty of a record jackpot like this one is not just the life-changing opportunity to win the jackpot, but the millions of dollars that it raises for education here in North Carolina,” Michalko said. “The dollars raised for education from this exciting jackpot will help our state’s education programs this year.”

As the jackpot has skyrocketed lately, lots of people in North Carolina are coming away big winners. The drawing on Wednesday produced a $1 million winner, a $100,000 winner and 11 $50,000 winners.

And the bonus to all this is that Powerball raises money for education in Fayetteville and North Carolina and has thus far raised $26 million.

The odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.9 and the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million. Players can buy Powerball tickets at any lottery retail location or through Online Play on the lottery’s website, www.nclottery.com.