The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 27, 2012

Powerball jackpot surges

The thoughts and dreams of an estimated $500 million Powerball jackpot has people hitting West Virginia Lottery retailers to buy their one in more than 175,223,510 chance to change their lives.

It’s the largest Powerball jackpot ever and the second largest jackpot in world history — three people shared the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, which was drawn in March.

Tuesday afternoon, Hannah Lilly, store manager at Little General on Robert C. Byrd Drive, said Powerball ticket sales had been “crazy” and didn’t expect it to stop until there’s a jackpot winner. Lilly estimated that average Powerball sales at her store had quadrupled within the last few days. She said the Little General store typically has to change its Powerball paper once every two to three days; but, with all the sales, though, the store has been changing its paper two to three times each day, Lilly explained.

Little General’s regular Powerball customers usually buy $10 to $20 in tickets, but with the big jackpot, some of those people have increased their purchases to $100, Lilly said. Then, there are those who never buy a Powerball ticket, but who are now taking a chance by buying a few dollars worth, she added. Lilly predicts that if there’s not a winner after tonight’s drawing, Friday’s ticket sales will be even more crazy.

At Little General, customer Daniel Brock Jr., of Maxwell Hill, said he planned to buy a few chances at $500 million.

“I want to be rich,” Brock Jr. said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to take care of your family and give some away?”  

At the Crossroads Mall customer service counter, several people, including Barry Bailey of Fayetteville and Deanna McClung of Prosperity, were stopping to buy their chance at riches.

Bailey said he typically purchases a few dollars worth of Powerball tickets each week, but decided to get $20 in chances for the $500 million jackpot. Bailey’s plans for the money weren’t extravagant — he would help his family, friends, donate to charity and purchase himself a house.

“I wouldn’t want people to know I have that much money,” he said.

McClung said she doesn’t normally buy Powerball tickets, but her husband told her to take a chance while they were out and about. McClung explained she didn’t care if she held a jackpot-winning ticket — she’d be happy winning $200,000, which would enable her to help her family.

There are those who aren’t playing, though. Bobby Manns of Beckley said he knows the odds just aren’t in his favor and there’s no way he’d hold the winning numbers; but he’s hoping his mom does. Manns said he gave his mother, who’s planning to play, suggestions for lucky numbers Tuesday morning. Manns joked that he’d be happy to take about 55 percent of his mom’s winnings if she struck it rich during tonight’s drawing.

The estimated cash option for the 10: 59 p.m. drawing is $327 million. Powerball ticket sales end at least 59 minutes before the drawing.

West Virginians have won eight Powerball jackpots, according to the West Virginia Lottery.

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