The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

November 28, 2012

Taking a chance

Second-largest Powerball payout pushes ticket sales

ANDERSON, Ind. — With the second-largest Powerball payout in U.S. history up for grabs, many who don’t normally dish out the dough for a lottery ticket were doing just that Wednesday afternoon.

By late Wednesday evening, the jackpot jumped to $580 million after officials said brisk sales kept driving up the payout amount.

People across Anderson stopped in at locations like Ricker's and Village Pantry to grab theirs.

Ellen Hess, 39, said the Powerball winning would provide a sense of security and allow her to do things she’s always wanted to do, such as take a European vacation.

“I’d never have to work another day in my life. I know that,” she said.

She stated she wasn’t even planning to buy a ticket until her daughter talked her into it, adding she’d share some of the cash with her family.

“People dream big, but I think most wouldn’t really know what to do with it until they got it,” she said. “If even then.”

With a $550 million jackpot, a winner taking the cash option would get $360.2 million before taxes. But the odds of winning were 1 in 175 million.

Mike Jones, Ricker's merchandise manager, said that by Tuesday, Rickers’ Powerball sales had increased by 442 percent from the Tuesday prior.  

“The fever is out there,” he said.

As the Powerball figure rises, “people get more and more excited,” he said, and those who don’t typically buy tickets will do so.

There are Ricker's locations that sell more lottery tickets on a regular basis than others, he said, but with the Powerball so high, locations all over became lottery sites.

“It’s crazy across the board,” he said.

And Jones said Ricker's is hopeful that people will buy other items while they stand in line, too, since the convenience chain receives just a very small portion of lottery sales.

But the longer lines provide a “double-edged sword,” he said, as those going in to purchase other items may get annoyed and leave.

Aaron Dodson, 32, said he doesn’t typically buy lottery tickets and that he knows he doesn’t stand much chance, but at $2 a ticket, “it was worth a shot.”

“When you’re scraping to get by day after day, $500 million-plus sounds pretty good, you know,” he said, laughing.

Dodson said he’d use the money to take care of his family and “be set.”

Powerball officials said they believed there was a 75 percent chance the winning combination of numbers would be drawn Wednesday night.

Barbara Hatten, 56, said she’d use the money to take care of her grandchildren, to ensure they have “a bright future.” She’d also move someplace warm — she added she’s a “fan of Florida” — and give to a few charities.

“There’s absolutely no way I’d be able to use that all on myself,” she said. “There are many others in need.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847

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