Augusta residents have sights on $400 million Powerball jackpot

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 8:20 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 5:00 AM
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Powerball ticket raised high, John Lucas made a guarantee while leaving Bodie’s Shell station in downtown Augusta.

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John Lucas buys a Powerball ticket from Lisa Gilliam at Bodie's Shell Station in downtown Augusta.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
John Lucas buys a Powerball ticket from Lisa Gilliam at Bodie's Shell Station in downtown Augusta.

“I got the winner,” the Dearing resident said. “I’ll be at work tomorrow, but they shouldn’t expect me Thursday.”

Lucas is one of many hoping to strike gold.

After 7½ weeks without a winner, Powerball is making another run at the record books, seeing its jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing climb to $400 million.

It’s the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

“I usually don’t play until it gets pretty high, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one,” Lucas said. “After I hit the jackpot I’m paying off my house and buying a new car so I won’t have to keep driving this $800 Toyota.”

Bodie’s lottery cashier Lisa Gilliam said she expects a big turnout leading up to the drawing.

“Oh, it gets crazy around here when the jackpot reaches a level like this,” Gilliam said. “We’ll have office groups come in and spend hundreds. I’d say our business will triple in customers.”

The Powerball jackpot has rolled over since Christmas Day, when Missouri resident Kevin Carlson hit a $71.5 million payout.

Since then, the figures have continued to build.

“I’ve been homeless for about three months, so it’s hard to describe what winning Powerball would mean,” said Tom Nankervis, of Augusta. “I wasn’t planning to play, but I guess everyone deserves a little luck. Hopefully this will be mine.”

On Saturday, the jackpot went unclaimed for the 15th consecutive time when nobody selected the numbers drawn: 2, 9, 14, 21 and 23, with Powerball No. 3. Ten tickets had the first five numbers. A Texas ticket with the Power Play prize multiplier option won $2 million. The other nine tickets won $1 million apiece. Florida and Michigan each sold two; Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Iowa sold one apiece.

The Georgia ticket was sold in Winder, just west of Athens.

“You can’t win unless you play,” Nankervis said. “I’ve never had much luck when it comes to scratch-offs but maybe Powerball will be different. With a jackpot this size, it’s definitely worth a shot.”

Powerball is played in 43 states; Washington, D.C.; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Odds of winning Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot are 1 in 175 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

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