"Somebody has to win and maybe it will be me!" Shelli Bushman said from a Sheetz store in Henrico.
The drawing will take place shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, and it will be historic. It is the third-largest Powerball prize ever.
This half a billion dollar Powerball is coming at a crucial time. Across the nation, in the 44 states that sell tickets, sales have dropped by more than 30 percent since 2013. That also means profits dedicated to schools have also fallen.
"We call that jackpot fatigue," said John Hagerty with the Virginia Lottery.
Powerball hasn't had a jackpot like this for nearly a year and people don't play unless the winnings are huge.
"A lot of people won't play unless the jackpot gets really high," Hagerty said.
So where does the money go in Virginia?
For every $2 spent on a Powerball ticket, the Virginia lottery estimates $1.20 go to prizes, $0.10 to the store where the ticket was bought, $0.10 for the lottery itself, and $0.60 goes to public education. The Virginia Lottery estimates that this latest jackpot run, which began at the end of November, will bring $12.1 million dollars to public schools.
If you do happen to win, there are a few things you need to do first before coming forward as the winner.
1. Sign the ticket.
2. Then, call a financial expert. "With that kind of money you really can't do it by yourself," Hagerty said. You need to decide if you want a lump sum or an annuity. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The main being if you take payments you get more chances to get it right, just in case you blew the money that first payment.
3. Have a plan in place to deal with publicity. Decide what you want to share and when you want to share it. Consider getting a spokesperson to represent you. You may want a whole team in place: a lawyer, an accountant, and a public relations manager.
4. And most importantly don't lose yourself and all the things you cherish. Money should improve your life, not change it.