RALEIGH – Big winners in the record Powerball jackpot drawing Wednesday included the owners of three lucky tickets that are worth $1 million each and education in North Carolina which will get a boost of an estimated $16 million this year.

Sales of Powerball tickets during the 16 drawings that occurred during the jackpot’s climb to $587.5 million resulted in $44.3 million in sales for that game alone in North Carolina. From those sales, an estimated $16.8 million will go to education programs in North Carolina.

“We’re looking forward to meeting the lucky folks who won $1 million in Wednesday’s drawing,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the Education Lottery. “These Powerball sales will help us raise a lot more money this year to support a great cause – education in North Carolina.”

During the 16 Powerball drawings held as the jackpot rose from $40 million to $587.5 million, more than 625,000 tickets in North Carolina won prizes ranging from $4 to $1 million, totaling $7.4 million in overall prizes. Those sales also boosted the local economy as lottery retailers recorded $3.1 million in lottery commissions.

In Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched the winning jackpot numbers to split the $587.5 million jackpot. In North Carolina, there were 269,916 winning tickets totaling $4.8 million in prizes for that drawing alone.

The three tickets worth $1 million beat odds of 1 in 5.1 million to match all five white balls. The lucky tickets were purchased at the Super Kmart Express on Huffman Mill Road in Burlington, the Circle K on Selwyn Avenue in Charlotte and the Kangaroo Express on U.S. 258 North in Kinston. The winners have 180 days to come to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim their prize.

Fourteen other tickets sold in the state matched the numbers on four of the five white balls plus the number on the Powerball and are worth $10,000 each.

By law, lottery funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds. To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.58 billion for these initiatives statewide.