Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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November 27, 2012

Record Powerball prize drawing Wednesday

Local lottery players buy tickets with dreams of a very, merry Christmas

By CHRIS AGEE

Nobody won the fourth-largest Powerball jackpot ever after Saturday’s drawing, and stores are now selling tickets with a possible record-breaking jackpot of $425 million.

Local convenience store employees report higher lottery sales than usual in advance of Wednesday’s drawing, each saying they hope their respective retailers sell the winning ticket.

Corner Stop manager Eddie Mitchani said lottery sales have been consistently high as the Powerball jackpot increased.

“It’s been selling pretty good,” he said, noting his store has not previously sold a jackpot winning ticket.

All stores have a great incentive to try, he said, explaining the retailer that sells the winning ticket will receive $500,000.

“That’s the cap,” he said, explaining the reward to stores used to be 1 percent of the jackpot.

Peggy Neff, a former Mineral Wells High School teacher, said she doesn’t usually purchase lottery tickets but is intrigued by the prospect of such a big jackpot.

“The odds are astronomical to begin with,” she said, but noted someone will eventually win.

“The first thing I’d do with it is take it over as long a period of time as I could get,” she explained, noting those who take a lump sum payment lose more than half of their winnings in fees.

After considering how she would spend the money, Neff said her first task would be paying off her daughter’s college loan debt. After that, she said she would set aside money for her extended family’s college tuition.

In addition to making repairs on her home, which was damaged in a tornado, Neff said she would contribute to worthwhile charities.

“I could do a lot of good with money like that,” she said.

Sally Wymore, manager of the EZ Mart on South Oak Avenue, said she hasn’t noticed a significant spike in lottery sales as of Monday afternoon, though she generally notices an increase correlating to a rising jackpot.

“With Powerball,” she said, “when it’s up like it is, they’ll buy more of it.”

One cashier at Tommy’s Convenience Store on North Oak Avenue said she has seen a predictable spike in sales whenever the jackpot increases significantly.

“When Mega Millions was so high, it was really crazy around that time,” she said.

A second employee said numerous customers use their lucky numbers more often prior to drawings for huge paydays, often fantasizing about what they would do with the money.

“I just wish them luck and [tell them] everybody’s a winner until they have the drawing,” she said.

Another local convenience store manager who did not want to be identified said the possibility of a record payout has resulted in more customer interest in the lottery.

“Sales have increased,” she said, explaining that if her store sells a winning ticket it would not be the first time.

“We haven’t sold a winning Powerball,” she said, “but we did have a Cash 5 winner.”

The previous record for a top Powerball jackpot was $365 million, which was split among a pool of Nebraska employees in 2006.

Powerball is a multi-state lottery available in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to its website, the estimated $425 million Powerball jackpot has a cash value of $278.3 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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