So ... how many did you buy?
Across 42 states, people were lined up and putting down their money on a shot at the unprecedented $656 million Mega Millions jackpot March 30. So many tickets were purchased that overnight, the jackpot went up $116 million from the $540 million total after no one hit all six numbers in the previous drawing, held March 27.
In Battle Ground, lines were forming in stores as early as noon on the day of the drawing and at gas stations and smaller markets, nearly every purchase came with an offer to punch out a lottery ticket.
“We sold over $1,000 worth of tickets yesterday and we may double that today,” said Mike Perry, shift leader of Main Street Chevron in Battle Ground, on Fri., March 30. “For that much money, everybody’s getting in on it.”
Perry himself bought eight tickets, hoping even a fraction of the jackpot could come his way to help both he and his wife, with their first child on the way.
“We have a son due in August, so obviously that money would help a lot.”
Ticket buyers weren’t eager to discuss their plans for if they won, but most mentioned they’d be happy with any portion of the winnings.
“If I could even hit four numbers for $250,000, I’d be happy,” said one gentleman.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’d be fine with even $5,000,” countered another.
“It’s fun to hear what everybody says they’d do with the money and if they won,” said Sherry Huff, manager of All-Star Market. “I’ve already been told by people they’d buy me a car or a trip if I sold them the winning ticket, so I’ve got maybe 19-20 cars and a couple dozen trips coming my way.”
Huff also purchased a ticket, even though she admits she and her husband seldom play the lottery, and they also have had the “what if?” conversation.
“We’d do what a lot of people I think would do,” Huff said. “We’d pay off all our debt, get a nice home, maybe buy a couple of new cars, but we’d give a lot of it to our families, our church, and donate to charities like the Food Bank as our way of giving back.”
Huff admitted that during a rough time for her family last year, she turned to the North Clark Community Food Bank for assistance, so to her, it would only be right to pay that generosity forward.
“It’s the least we could do,” Huff said.
With three reported winners in Maryland, Kansas, and Illinois following Friday night’s drawing (the winning numbers were: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46, and the megaball 23), the current split of the jackpot is more than $213 million before taxes.
With no local winners coming forward as of yet, the one-percent payout to whoever sells a winning lottery ticket likely will not be going to any local vendors either.
“If just one person gets it all, that’s $6.4 million back to the store.” Perry said Friday. “I’m pretty sure if that happened, I’d never see my boss again.”