Michelle Houk had no intention of buying a lottery ticket when she walked into the Lucky Spot gas station for a drink Friday, but when she heard the Powerball jackpot was $325 million she quickly reconsidered.
“How much did you say it is?” she asked with surprise before adding a ticket to her order.
Before leaving the store, she already had a few ideas for how she would spend the money.
“A lot I’d donate to charities and breast cancer awareness,” Houk said. The rest would go toward a new home and college funds for her five children.
Michael Everhart, who owns Lucky Spot on Gordon Highway, said he has been seeing more people like Houk since the jackpot jumped over the $300 million mark.
Traffic overall has doubled, and he expects to see long lines next week if no one takes the prize in Saturday’s drawing.
“The wife and I have already talked about buying a ticket, and we don’t normally play,” he said.
After no lottery players matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s drawing, the jackpot rose for the 14th time with no top-prize winners. It now sits just $40 million under its all-time record, set in 2006.
On Friday morning at the Coliseum BP station at Walton Way and Eighth Street, store owner Jennifer Kim had a steady stream of customers asking about Powerball.
Mostly it’s regular customers putting about $10 on Lady Luck, but she has seen as much as $300 thrown down on such a high jackpot.
Kim said she hears a lot of hopes and dreams at the lottery counter.
“They’re saying they’re going to retire, and some say they’re going to give it to people who need it or start their own business,” she said.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in more than 175 million. The odds of winning a prize are 1 in 32.
Powerball tickets cost $2 per play and are played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There are two options for a winning ticket – the $325 million prize paid out in 30 payments over 29 years or the cash option of $212.8 million.