Powerball tickets sales soar as people find a chance at $900M prize irresistible

Lottery players, take heart. Officials say it's increasingly likely that someone will win the $900 million Powerball jackpot.

People across the country dreamed about what they'd do with the largest lottery prize in U.S.

See Full Article

history -- vacationing in warm climates, sharing with family members -- and could still be thinking big in the coming days. If no one matches all the numbers on Saturday night, the next drawing is expected to soar to $1.3 billion.

The U.S. saw sales of $277 million on Friday alone and more than $400 million are expected Saturday, according to Gary Grief, the executive director of the Texas Lottery.

The frenzy was real Saturday afternoon at a newsstand in New York City's Penn Station, where cashier Setara Begum said she was exhausted from taking about $10,000 worth of orders that ranged from a single $2 ticket to one man buying $500 worth of tickets.

"I'm going crazy! I can't take it anymore!" she said, burying her face in her hands but giggling uncontrollably as she turned to a line of customers. Another employee stood at the newsstand's entrance offering $10 worth of tickets on one page.

Scott Edwards was making the most of his chances, playing in three different groups of eight New Yorkers, a $20 buy-in per person per group.

"I guess eight is going to break the money down a lot," said the 55-year-old, whose groups include Madison Square Garden, where he monitors security for deliveries, as well as the truck drivers delivering those goods and one in his Brooklyn neighbourhood.

But for all the excitement, Grief urged those hoping to hit it big not to spend more than they can afford.

"We're very concerned about people playing responsibly and not overspending," he said. "It only takes one ticket to win."

Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot. This kind of huge jackpot was just what officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million.

By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.

Anndrea Smith, 30, of Omaha, Nebraska, has already spent more than she usually does on Powerball tickets.

"I bought four yesterday, and I usually never buy any," said Smith, manager of Bucky's gas station and convenience store in northwest Omaha. She's not alone, saying the store sold "about $5,000 worth of tickets yesterday. Usually on a Friday, we might sell $1,200 worth."

If she wins, her first purchase will be "a warm vacation," she said, as the temperature outside hovered in the single digits. "I'd share with family, too."

Sonja Peterson of Minneapolis said she never buys Powerball tickets, but on Saturday, she bought two with random numbers at Bobby & Steve's Auto World gas station -- one for her, one for her boyfriend.

"The number's very high," Peterson said. "We said, 'Let's have a little fun. Let's buy some tickets today."'

The chance of no one hitting all five initial numbers and the Powerball number was growing slimmer, Grief said, anticipating that about 75 per cent of all combinations will have been bought.

One New Jersey man took a more realistic view than some of his lottery cohorts across the U.S.

"I know I'm more likely to get hit by lightning or a bus than winning this thing, but that's not going to stop me from taking a chance" George Montgomery said while standing outside a Trenton convenience store.

"I'm not spending more than $20 overall on tickets, I won't go nuts like some people, but who knows? Maybe I can snag some of the smaller prizes," the 62-year-old said. "If I lose, I lose a few bucks. If I win, I get a few bucks and I'll be happy."

------

Associated Press writers Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis, Verena Dobnik in New York City and Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Publisher cancels Milo Yiannopoulos book 'Dangerous'

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos' publisher has cancelled his planned book, "Dangerous." Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint announced Monday that "after careful consideration" they had pulled the book, which had been high on Amazon.com's bestseller lists and was the subject of intense controversy. Source
  • 'We're all humans': U.S. border agent watches as asylum-seekers cross into Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    The agents who patrol the Canada-U.S. border in Quebec say it's been hard for them to watch as refugee families trudge through snow and freezing conditions to flee to Canada.Montreal becomes 'sanctuary city' for after unanimous voteRCMP help asylum-seeking family through snow after run-in with U.S. Source
  • Canadian troops in Iraq mount pressure on ISIS around Syrian border

    World News CBC News
    Canadian special forces have shifted their operations in northern Iraq to put pressure on ISIS in places outside the strategic city of Mosul — including along the border with Syria. Rather than firing, now they're mainly scrutinizing. Source
  • Bring on the Swedes

    World News Toronto Sun
    Just when you thought the refugee debate could not get more explosive, a new question arises this week: Should we let in more Swedes? To hear Donald Trump tell it, those blond/blonde bombshells must be clamoring to flee their chilly, crime-riddled homeland. Source
  • Boy, 6, dies after falling through ice in Alberta

    Canada News CBC News
    A young boy is dead and his brother is in hospital after the pair fell through the ice into a canal in the Airdrie, Alta., community of Bayside. A neighbour in the community called 911 around 1:25 p.m. Source
  • Thousands turn out for anti-Trump protests across U.S.

    World News CBC News
    Thousands of demonstrators across the U.S. turned out to challenge Donald Trump in a Presidents Day protest dubbed "Not My President's Day." The numbers weren't close to the million-plus who thronged the streets following Trump's inauguration a month earlier, but the message on Monday was similar. Source
  • Killing of ISIS warlord who beheaded prisoners called ‘revenge’

    World News Toronto Sun
    A bloodthirsty ISIS warlord who orchestrated beheadings of captured prisoners has been blasted off the face of the earth. Reports say terror titan Abu Zar was obliterated in a coalition air strike Sunday Zar was notorious for his bloodlust in dealing with civilians and his enemies. Source
  • Canadian troops in Iraq shift to pressure ISIS around Syrian border

    Canada News CTV News
    ERBIL, Iraq -- Canadian special forces have shifted their operations in northern Iraq to put pressure on ISIL in places outside the strategic city of Mosul -- including along the border with Syria. Rather than firing, now they're mainly scrutinizing. Source
  • Vancouver Aquarium bringing back belugas despite mysterious deaths

    Canada News CBC News
    The Vancouver Aquarium will bring back beluga whales to its facility, despite a pledge not to do so until it determined the reasons behind two mysterious beluga deaths last November. CEO and president John Nightingale said the aquarium will build the new Canada's Arctic exhibit as planned, with a focus on research and with belugas. Source
  • Thousands of demonstrators across U.S. say 'Not My President'

    World News CTV News
    Thousands of demonstrators turned out Monday across the U.S. to challenge Donald Trump in a Presidents' Day protest dubbed Not My President's Day. The numbers weren't close to the million-plus who thronged the streets following Trump's inauguration a month earlier, but the message was similar. Source