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With odds of one in 175 million of winning the Powerball jackpot of $500 million dollars, some might think they have no chance to take home the record prize. But that didn’t stop customers at a local gas station from buying their own Powerball tickets, as KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports.
[SOUND: cash register]
Inside the Break Time gas station in Springfield, clerk Stephanie Taylor sells a Powerball ticket and a scratcher ticket to customer James Anderson. Anderson scratches his ticket with a dirty penny and finds he’s won two dollars. So what do you think Anderson’s going to spend his winnings on?
“It’s a two dollar ticket, just give me another Powerball,” Anderson said.
That’s Anderson’s ninth Powerball ticket for the drawing, which began Saturday night and has reached a record jackpot of $500 million dollars. I asked him what he’ll do with all that money if he wins.
“I’m gonna buy every piece of farm ground I can find and raise food to feed the poor,” Anderson says.
Jason Hamilton also just bought a ticket. He says he usually doesn’t play the Powerball, and only found out Tuesday just how big the jackpot was.
“Every once in a while, if it gets up there pretty large, if it catches my eye I’ll throw a few dollars at it. You can’t win if you don’t have your hat in the ring,” Hamilton said.
So what would Hamilton do with over $300 million dollars?
“It’s tough to say. Move somewhere warmer, for sure. Do a lot of travelling, that sort of thing. Take care of my family,” Hamilton said.
Back at the register, Stephanie Taylor says she’s noticed a surge in Powerball ticket sales since Saturday’s drawing – so much so that she’s started asking every customer if they want to buy a ticket.
“I do it because it’s so high. It would be cool to see somebody who came in on a regular basis win it,” Taylor said.
Susan Goedde with the Missouri Lottery Commission says she’s noticed this boom in ticket sales, too.
“To put it in perspective, an average week of Powerball sales in Missouri is 1.8 million [tickets]. Sales on Monday alone were 1.3 million, and Sunday and Monday together were well over 2 million,” Goedde said.
Goedde says the Missouri Lottery Commission anticipates selling 5 million tickets for this drawing. Though the odds play in nobody’s favor in the Powerball, she says Missourians might have a better shot than others around the country.
“I can say Missouri has been the second most winning state behind Indiana. We’ve had 26 people in Missouri win a Powerball jackpot. That’s exciting to know that we’re a winning state,” Goedde said.
Goedde says the winner of the record Powerball jackpot has two options: either take the prize as one lump cash sum - which after taxes will equal about $327 million dollars - or take the prize as an annuity, which means the winner will receive $18 million a year for 30 years.
Powerball tickets will be sold in Missouri until 8:59 tonight.
For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.