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Powerball Sales Steady South Of Va. Border

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ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. — Whether travelers come from Virginia or live in the Roanoke Valley, there is no place where there is more hype about the Powerball lottery than in Roanoke Rapids.

Owners of local ticket outlets looked for a busy evening Wednesday for a $135 million jackpot.

For years, North Carolina residents have pumped money into Virginia's economy by heading north to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets. However, some lottery retailers said it looks like Virginia residents did not share in the excitement.

"I haven't seen it in our stores, rural and interstate both. We haven't seen the big rush," said Bernie Robertson, vice-president of marketing for Newsom Oil, which owns lottery ticket outlets throughout Halifax and Northampton counties.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Powerball ticket sales had totaled to $900,795, North Carolina lottery officials said.

"We normally see sales soar in the evenings," said North Carolina Education Lottery spokeswoman Pam Walker.

Overall, she said on Thursday, sales totaled to more than $2.4 million and that 611,253 tickets were sold -- a record day for Powerball sales in the state.

County breakdowns for Powerball sales, however, were not yet available on Thursday, Walker said, so an estimate of how many people from Virginia buying tickets was not immediately known.

Powerball tickets are $1 each, and players can purchase tickets until about an hour before each drawing on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. when the winning numbers are picked live on WRAL-TV.


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