DALLAS – The billboards touting a sky-high Powerball prize of $500,000,000 can’t even keep up –– soaring ticket sales pushed the jackpot up an additional $50 million Wednesday.
But when the jackpot exceeds a half billion-dollars who’s really counting, anyway?
“I am going to win it though. You all will have me back on the news. I will be a winner,” said Larry Tucker as he filled out his lottery ticket at Fuel City south of downtown Dallas.
Even though the odds of winning the Powerball's grand prize are pretty long –– your chances currently stand at about 176 million to 1 –– the lines to pay to play at Dallas-area convenience stores have been, too. Even lottery newcomers are getting in on the frenzy.
“Me and my wife have got to figure this thing out,” said Frank Garcia, who says he’s never played before. Meanwhile, the more seasoned chance-takers are relying on particular digits, “Just numbers I play all the time,” Andre Spann said.
Others even have strategies for where to buy, “I am going to buy two here, two down the road, and further down perhaps another two,” Jim Salinas said from inside a south Dallas convenience store. If he strikes it rich, Salinas has an odd plan for the windfall, “I will have a lot of fun giving it all away. All of it.”
Speaking of ‘all’, store employees say there are some who are betting it all that they’ll win.
“They spend their entire paychecks,” said convenience store manager Hossein Tabaei.
But most at the convenience stores have kept their lotto fever in check, some even opt to forgo another ticket to donate to the Salvation Army collector outside. Maybe the good deed will bring them some luck.
“I think that’s why they are giving,” solicitor Thomas Thompson said. “Maybe I can give a little and get a lot.”
Of the more than $10,572,096 in Powerball ticket sales generated in the state in the last week, Texas Lottery Commission officials report that North Dallas has been the top-volume region in sales. Earlier Wednesday, when statewide sales at at half of where they are now, the area generated about $1.3 million worth of lottery tickets.
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia vote through their state legislatures to participate in Powerball. Sixteen Texans have won the second-tier prize of $1 million and $2 million in the game. No one in the state, however, has taken home the grand prize.