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Map: Here's where Powerball is most popular

A customer buys a Powerball ticket in 2013.
A customer buys a Powerball ticket in 2013.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Along with Mega Millions, Powerball is as close as the United States comes to a national lottery (tickets are sold in 44 states as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands). And with a new $1.5 billion jackpot looming, it's worth seeing which states care about the game the most.

Data scientist Seth Kadish mapped Powerball sales as recorded by Lotto Report, while adjusting for population differences and fluctuations from week to week (the data is for sales through March 2015). The week of March 18, 2015, for example, Florida sold a national high of 1,255,643 tickets. But when you adjust ticket sales for every thousand people, the picture of Powerball fanatics looks a lot different:

Seth Kadish's map of Powerball states

A map of the top Powerball states. (Seth Kadish)

The map shows daily tickets sold per 1,000 people in the state. As you can see, New England has Powerball fever. The top five states are:

  1. Rhode Island (39.9 tickets per 1,000)
  2. Delaware (39.0 tickets per 1,000)
  3. New Hampshire (36.5 tickets per 1,000)
  4. New Jersey (35.2 tickets per 1,000)
  5. Florida (33.6 tickets per 1,000)

There are a few states that don't sell Powerball tickets, but there also some in which sales are relatively low. The bottom five states are:

  1. Washington (11.5 tickets per 1,000)
  2. Texas (12.6 tickets per 1,000)
  3. Arkansas (14.2 tickets per 1,000)
  4. Oregon (15.2 tickets per 1,000)
  5. Ohio (15.4 tickets per 1,000)

When jackpots spike, so do Powerball sales

So what drives those New Englanders (and everyone else) to purchase so many Powerball tickets? It appears it's big jackpots — like the rush we're seeing now. Kadish plotted ticket sales with respect to jackpot sizes:

Ticket sales and Powerball jackpots. (Seth Kadish)

Ticket sales and Powerball jackpots. (Seth Kadish)

That means Rhode Islanders aren't the only ones hoping to hit the jackpot — the people running Powerball are, too.