ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - In New Mexico millions of dollars of tickets were sold.
At one point, people bought $500,000 of tickets in just an hour Wednesday night.
As the jackpot grew, so did the number of New Mexicans buying tickets.
The New Mexico Lottery Office says that 3.4 million people bought tickets from Sunday through the deadline Wednesday night for the Wednesday drawing of the Powerball.
Sales were raging all day Wednesday, but they reached their peak between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. with almost $500,000 worth purchased.
Now because of the amount of sales nationwide the drawing was delayed until after 9 p.m.
This is good news for not only adding to the nationwide lottery pot, but good news for the New Mexico Lottery Office in generating revenue to keep the games going in the state.
While the winning jackpot tickets were not in New Mexico, that money spent is not going to waste.
Thirty percent of all the money spent on Powerball and lottery tickets in New Mexico go to college scholarships. And they're getting a big boost thanks to Powerball fever.
This extra money could not come at a better time.
In the past 16 years since the program started, lottery officials say that nearly $530 million has been raised for the scholarships, helping to send about 82,000 students to college in state.
The minimum requirements to get the Legislative Lottery Scholarship are for students who graduate from a New Mexico high school or obtain a GED and maintain a 2.5 grade point average.
In recent weeks, reports have come out that money for the program has gone down, but a surge in interest like this will help.
"it's also bringing out brand new players who have never thought about buying a lottery ticket before and so it's a really good opportunity for us to get them excited about the game, but more importantly excited about supporting legislative lottery scholarships," NM Lottery spokesperson, Linda Hamlin, said.
Prior to Wednesday's drawing, money brought in by Powerball for the scholarship program compared to last year was up about 16 percent.
The lottery scholarships do not get most of their money from Powerball or Megamillions tickets, but rather the scratchers games.
Lottery workers say that even though you've heard about money for lottery scholarships being down, the lottery has plenty of money to pay the winners.
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