A spike of Powerball fever quickly spread in Columbus, where 25 players rushed Wednesday afternoon to buy a $2 ticket for a chance to win up to 25 free chances in future Powerball games.

The promotion at Discount Food & Gas, 5750 25th St., started at 3:25 p.m. and gave the first 25 purchasers of Powerball tickets an opportunity to pick a red ball numbered 1 to 25 out of a bag. Numbers on the red balls represented the number of free Powerball vouchers that buyers would receive in a random drawing.

The Columbus store was among four locations across the state taking part in the promotion by the Hoosier Lottery, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Powerball.

Jackie Allen of Columbus was among the first few people in line. She walked out of the store with eight free voucher tickets, having drawn the ball with an eight on it.

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Allen said the most she has ever won from the Hoosier Lottery was $400 off a scratch-off ticket in Brown County a few years ago, adding that she hoped the vouchers would allow her to win another nice prize.

Columbus resident Chad Meyer, another local $2 Powerball ticket purchaser, had a smile on his face after drawing the red Powerball with the number 25 on it.

He said the 25 free voucher tickets will come in handy, noting that he typically plays Powerball when a big jackpot comes available.

“I’ll definitely use them,” Meyer said.

The vouchers are good through Nov. 25.

Andy Dhami, Discount Food & Gas owner for the past 11 years, said the store has never had a big Powerball winner. However, it sold a winning $100,000 scratch-off ticket about five years ago, he said.

The Powerball anniversary promotion was also conducted at Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis, Edco of Evansville in Evansville and 7-Eleven in Elkhart.

About Powerball

The game is available in 36 states, including Indiana, and Puerto Rico.

Powerball drawings are held twice a week, at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday and Saturday.

Five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls, and one red ball — the Powerball — is drawn from among 26 red balls.

Tickets are $2 each.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com