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Big Powerball prize leads to big business for local retailers

FOX44
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 9:25pm

A lot of people dreamed big Wednesday night. For all but a few, reality quickly set in.

Powerball players lined up across the country for a shot at one of the biggest jackpots of all time.

The winning numbers were 2, 11, 26, 34, and 41, with the Powerball being 32. But just the excitement of the big jackpot got many people to play.

"One man just came here and told me he wanted $200 worth of Powerball tickets," said Alexus Bynum, who works at the Circle K store at the corner of Siegen and Perkins. "They have been coming in back-to-back-to-back-to-back."

Bynum's cash register was busy all day long, with a combination of regular Powerball players and those who usually refrain.

"I was doing a job down the street," Marcus Barber said, "so I just stopped in, got me some numbers."

"(I play) probably every other week," Clark Southall said. "Whenever I'm at a gas station, I typically go in and buy a couple tickets."

The jackpot was $360 million, the third biggest in Powerball history, or $229.2 when taken as a lump sum. The odds of winning Powerball's grand prize are one in 175 million.

By comparison, a person is 600 times more likely to be struck by lightning, 16 times more likely to be killed by a shark, and seven times more likely to win an Academy Award.

But retailers around the country always win big on days like this.

"We have sold $1,600-$1,700 worth of Powerball tickets already," Bynum said during the evening. Just Powerball tickets alone."

She added that her store usually sells $700 of all lottery tickets combined in a given day.

The price of a Powerball ticket increased from $1 to $2 in 2012, meaning jackpots get bigger more frequently than they used to. Players tend to pay more attention and buy more tickets as the jackpot increases.

"Well, I'm not gonna just walk away from $10 million, but yeah, when it gets over $50 million or something, it gets a little more exciting," Southall stated.

"When it gets really high, usually above $200 million, that's when I usually do it," Patrick Box said.

And everyone with tickets in their hands Wednesday night had plans for what they would do with their imaginary millions.

"Ah, nothing, really," Barber claimed. "I'd give away most of it."

"I would be so happy," Bynum said. "See you later, Circle K, you ain't gotta call me no more!"

"I know the first thing I would do is call an attorney," Box mentioned.

If nobody steps forward with the grand prize-winning ticket, Saturday's jackpot is expected to rise past $500 million. 

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