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For one hour on Monday, Powerball ticket sales were eclipsed

RICHMOND, Va. – Turns out the only thing to eclipse Virginia lottery ticket sales was the solar eclipse Monday.

During yesterday’s eclipse, Powerball sales in Virginia dropped significantly, lottery officials said.

From 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, the Virginia Lottery noted a 25 percent decrease in Powerball sales. That was the local window for viewing the rare solar eclipse.

At 3 p.m. sales returned to their previous strong level.

A jackpot of $650 million is certainly not as rare as a solar eclipse, but it is the second largest Powerball jackpot ever, and the third largest of all jackpot games.

The Virginia Lottery expects to sell more than 2.1 million Powerball tickets on Wednesday, the day of the drawing.

In Saturday’s drawing, more than 119,000 Powerball tickets in Virginia won prizes, including four tickets that each won $50,000. Those tickets were bought in Norfolk, Ashland, Arlington and Glen Allen.

Powerball drawings are held at 10:59 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Powerball drawings are broadcast on TV stations across Virginia and replayed on www.valottery.com.  The cut-off time to buy a ticket is 10 p.m. on the night of the drawing.