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Powerball sales spike ahead of $250M jackpot

Posted August 18, 2009

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— Powerball fever is high after the expected jackpot for Wednesday evening's drawing rose to $250 million Tuesday.

C Mini Mart cashier Paula Gooch said Powerball sales were especially high Tuesday as people rushed to buy tickets. The 3405 Poole Road convenient store in Raleigh is the biggest Powerball ticket seller in the Triangle.

"A lot of winners come out of this store. They have certificates of what people have won here,” Gooch said.

"I play all my numbers here (at the C Mini Mart),” lottery player Aprile Hodge said.

Hodge said she usually buys 10 Powerball tickets a week.

"I would take care of my family, pay off debt,” Hodge said of how she would spend the winnings. "I might take a cruise. I have never been anywhere."

Sales of Powerball tickets around North Carolina are added up in real-time. At one point Tuesday, sales jumped to $1,400 a minute as news of the jackpot spread, North Carolina Education Lottery spokeswoman Pamela Walker said.

“Sales are pretty brisk all around the country, including in North Carolina,” said Tom Shaheen, executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery.

The boost is good news to lottery officials who said they were worried the down economy would hurt interest in the game.

Lottery player Towona Williamson said she thinks people are buying tickets due to tough economic times.

"Everybody is looking for a way to come up,” Williamson said.

Although the odds of winning the jackpot are one in 195 million – a person's chances of being struck by lightning or becoming president of the United States are better – those dreaming of winning big said it is worth spending the extra money, even in a tough economy.

"It is big and somebody is going to hit,” Hodge said.

Since its inception in March 2006, the lottery has provided $1.1 billion to public education in North Carolina.

State law designates that 50 percent of proceeds be split between pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk 4-year-olds and reducing class sizes in the early grades, 40 percent to school construction and 10 percent to college scholarships.

The Powerball drawing airs at 11 p.m. Wednesday on WRAL-TV.


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  • Professor Aug 19, 2009

    Maybe I will buy my first ticket. Who knows I may get lucky----or someone will. :)

  • purplecrossbutterfly Aug 19, 2009

    Me again...i'm pretty sure that there are people in other parts of Raleigh purchasing lottery tickets, not just those of us who live in SE Raleigh. I agree with RachaelA, the store is the highest selling store of tickets in this area. That would be the reason for WRAL reporting from this area. Good Luck to those of you who have purchased your tickets!!

  • 007KnightRider Aug 19, 2009

    I'm actually thinking about buying my "second" Powerball ticket, this evening. I've only bought one Powerball ticket since the NC lottery began.

  • auroraleigh85 Aug 19, 2009

    How in the world do you determine who's an "at-risk" 4 year old?!?! Yet another wasteful program in the state of NC.

    As for the person who spends $10 a week on Powerball tickets... You say you have debt. Well, how about cutting back on those powerball tickets and putting some of that $520/year towards your debt? Seems like a strange idea, doesn't it... this whole "paying off debt" thing. The Powers That Be certainly can't seem to do it.

  • RAA0013 Aug 19, 2009

    In reponse to Me again: the story was done from the SE Raleigh store because as they stated it is the highest seller of the tickets not because people there aren't good at managing money.

    But nice effort at trying to make the Powerball out to be something other than a personal choice. Good luck with that.

  • hollylama Aug 19, 2009

    I'm going to win...!

  • Flyswatter Aug 19, 2009

    can i still buy a ticket today?

  • Me again Aug 19, 2009

    $10 a week on Powerball tickets? Wow! That's $520 a year.

    rhoda_penmark: You notice how they weren't at some convience store at some upscale part of the Triangle doing this story. The lottery is a tax on those who can't do math and there are plenty of people in SE Raleigh who can't do math. Hence...the reason for WRAL doing the story from SE Raleigh.

  • rhoda_penmark Aug 19, 2009

    Well, I am impressed. A positive interview with someone at a southeast Raleigh business. And, unlike stories usually chosen to be aired by WRAL, completely unrelated to any sensational crime. Good work, WRAL, come on down to southeast Raleigh again any time, not just when you need a crime story to boost ratings.

  • garnertoy Aug 19, 2009

    got my ticket