At a West Ashley gas station that is South Carolina’s top seller of lottery tickets, tomorrow night’s $350 million Powerball wasn’t attracting a lot of interest this afternoon.

“$350 million is not enough to get people excited,” said Mehul Patel, who was working the counter at Food Mart #1, at 1127 Savannah Highway. “When it gets to $500 million, there will be lines.”

Already the Powerball jackpot is among the highest on record. The top prize had climbed to $360 million by this evening as more tickets were sold in the multi-state game, making it the third-highest Powerball prize ever.

The odds of winning are ridiculously long, at 1 in 175,223,510.

But with prizes so large as to be life-changing, studies have shown that people who don’t usually buy lottery tickets will take a shot at the Powerball with a $2 ticket.

“A lot of the increase in sales comes from people who don’t usually play,” said College of Charleston Professor Doug Walker, who teaches a course on the economics of gambling.

A S.C. Education Lottery demographic profile found that college graduates and people earning more than $80,0000 are disproportionately likely to buy a Powerball ticket. Most of the state lottery’s revenue comes from scratch-off instant tickets, which the study found college graduates tend to avoid.

Read more later at and in Wednesday’s newspaper.