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Powerball Fever Hits in China

FILE - A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb.
FILE - A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets at Russ's Market in Lincoln, Neb.

The U.S. Powerball drawing for a whopping $1.5 billion will be watched closely in China, where thousands of tickets for the multi-state lottery have been sold over the Internet.

Entrepreneurs in the United States are using Chinese e-commerce sites to sell the $2 tickets to anyone in China who feels lucky. They simply have to send the numbers they want to play along with between $3 and $4.60. In return, they receive an email photo of the ticket.

According to NBC News, one ticket seller is a student living in the United States who said he had sold 600 tickets in three days.

"Before I only knew Americans who wanted to buy Powerball tickets, but I started to sell lottery tickets a few days ago because the huge prize money has made more and more Chinese people notice Powerball," the student told NBC without divulging his name. "I think I can make some money from this. I charge 25 yuan ($3.80) per ticket and I will charge a 10 percent service fee if the buyers win the big pot."

Others appear to have sold even more.

One potential snag would be how to get the jackpot to the winner should they live in China.

"If the customers win a prize below $100, we will collect the money and transfer the money to them electronically through Alipay," said Dong Peng, who has sold tickets to people in China via the Taobao e-commerce site. "If they win the super prize, I think we should negotiate how we can get the money to them. It is not safe to help them to collect so much money in that situation and we suggest that customers should hire a lawyer or financial consultant to get more professional advice if this really happens."

In recent days, China has also had a lottery drawing, with the prize still unclaimed.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 292 million.

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