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Lottery sales increase as Powerball jackpot expected to reach more than $325 million

November 24, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

With Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot expected to reach more than $325 million, local liquor store clerks said they anticipated an increase in lottery sales as customers take a chance at becoming part of America’s top 1 percent.

Marie Stover, a clerk at C&R Liquors on Dual Highway in Hagerstown, said Powerball sales were slow Friday morning, but she predicted they would pick up as the time of the drawing gets closer.

“They start coming in whenever they realize it’s really up there,” she said.

Every Wednesday and Saturday night, a Powerball official draws five white balls from 1 to 59, and one red Powerball from 1 to 35. A match is required on all five white numbers and the Powerball number to win the jackpot.

The odds of matching all six numbers are 175,223,510 million to 1, according to Powerball.com. No one has won since Oct. 3.

Steve Coster was at C&R Liquors with some friends Friday morning buying beer on their way to a hunting trip in Western Maryland.

Coster said he rarely spends $2 to buy a Powerball ticket unless the jackpot climbs above $150 million. He said he has bought tickets for the last few drawings.

“If you don’t play, you can’t win,” he said.

Jamie Wiley, a clerk at Wooden Keg Liquors on Jefferson Boulevard, said Powerball sales have increased with the rising jackpot.

“I’m anticipating a busy weekend,” he said.

A lot of Powerball players who come in have been participating in workplace pools, Wiley said. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to buy anywhere from $20 to $100 worth of tickets.

Wooden Keg customer Joe Groft said he usually plays Powerball every week, even though he knows that his chances of winning are slim.

“It’s just fun,” he said.

Groft said this week’s $325 million jackpot prompted him to buy $20 worth of tickets.

“I don’t know anyone who’s ever won anything big,” he said. “The biggest thing I ever won was $27.”

Groft said if he wins Saturday’s jackpot drawing, he plans to share the money with his children and grandchildren.

“I would definitely retire,” he said.

Saturday’s jackpot is the largest since Aug. 15, when a $337 million ticket was sold in Michigan.

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