Powerball Welcomes California Today

There’s a new way for Californians to spend their hard-earned money: the Golden State will welcome sales Monday for the Powerball, the nationwide lotto sensation that boasts some of the largest U.S. jackpots ever.

California is the 43rd state to join the Powerball lottery, with the jackpot is expected to hit $60 million for Wednesday night. Tickets will cost $2 each.

The drawing will take place in Sacramento for California’s first Powerball, although it usually occurs in Florida.

The hype has reached a fever pitch since the California Lottery Commission voted unanimously to join the multi-state game in November, though not everyone is singing its praises. Taking the positive side, the state Lottery launched billboard, radio and TV ads last week around the theme of "believe in something bigger." In one ad, exuberant Californians do cannonballs into Powerball-filled swimming pools and make Powerball snow angels on their front lawns.

“Every time the Powerball jackpot gets large, people say, ‘Hey, how come Californians can’t play?’” said Alex Traverso, a CA Lottery spokesperson. “We’re happy to finally be able to tell customers we’re in.”

Lottery officials say the Powerball game will continue the upward trajectory of state lottery sales. Sales remained steady at $3 billion in 2011 but jumped to $4.4 billion in sales in 2012, Traverso said. "We've grown $1.5 billion in sales in the last year and a half," he added.