Soaring Powerball jackpot inspires friends to make a pact and play. Then one wins big

As the Powerball jackpot soared to nearly $1 billion, a pair of best friends decided they should play for a chance to win big.

“I told Joanna that it was time for us to buy some lottery tickets because of the high jackpot,” a woman identified only as LeaAnn told Arkansas Scholarship Lottery officials. “We made a pact that if either of us won big, we would take a vacation together.”

After making the pact, Joanna J. bought tickets for the Saturday, Sept. 30, drawing before leaving home for a Muay Thai fight in Springdale, according to an Oct. 3 news release. The Powerball jackpot was worth an estimated $969 million that night.

That evening, the Conway woman matched four of the white balls and the Powerball, according to the release. This qualified her for a $50,000 prize.

But because Joanna had added the $1 Power Play option to her ticket, her prize was multiplied to $100,000, officials said.

After realizing her big win, she told LeaAnn about the prize, according to the release. But the two haven’t decided where they plan to take their vacation.

Joanna plans to use the rest of her prize to play bills, officials said.

The Powerball jackpot has since reached an estimated $1.2 billion. The next drawing is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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