RALEIGH -

The historic Powerball jackpot has North Carolina players thinking about the ultimate Christmas present.
    
Wednesday's drawing is offering at least $500 million, and officials with the North Carolina Education Lottery say the money has been a boon to ticket sales.
    
Lottery spokesman Van Denton said Tuesday that sales for the current jackpot have reached $28.1 million since the last winner on Oct. 6. Denton said sales for the three days prior to last Saturday's drawing reached $5.2 million, which is the highest three-day take during the period.
    
The state sold $17.6 million in tickets on March 30, when the Mega Millions jackpot hit $656 million.
    
A single Powerball winner choosing the cash option would get more than $327 million before taxes.