NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 28, 2012

A jackpot of hopefuls

Despite long odds, Powerball payoff too enormous to pass up

With historic winnings at stake in tonight’s Powerball jackpot, lottery sales in the region boomed yesterday with people dreaming of how they would spend their riches if fortune smiled on them.

By mid-day yesterday, the jackpot had reached $500 million, $75 million more than what was estimated earlier in the day. According to Massachusetts Lottery officials, that put the one-time cash payout option on the prize at more than $327 million. And the grand prize was expected to continue to balloon up until tonight’s drawing.

“Really, with that much money in the pot, who cares if Uncle Sam takes half,” Amy Davis of Seabrook said. “You could take care of your kids and everybody you love. And I’d give money to the charities that help sick children, but I’d be in Aruba where it’s warm wiring the money to the charities back here.”

Once the domain of smaller states like New Hampshire, Powerball spread a few years ago to Massachusetts and elsewhere. Now with 41 states taking part, the result means bigger jackpots for players.

Tonight’s jackpot is the largest in the multi-state game’s 20-year history, according to Massachusetts Lottery officials. Powerball’s previous record jackpot was $365 million, won in Nebraska in February 2006.

The current Powerball jackpot has grown over 15 straight drawings since Oct. 3, when a ticket sold in Delaware won a $50 million prize, lottery officials reported.

That has people clamoring for tickets. According to the Massachusetts State House News Service, ticket sales in the Bay State sped along at a $3,700-per-minute clip yesterday afternoon.

At Circle Discount right over the Massachusetts line on Route 1 in Seabrook, Vijay Patel said the Powerball drawing has led business to skyrocket.

“Usually, we do about $150 in Powerball sales a day, but with this jackpot, it’s up to $800 to $900 (a day),” said Patel, who has owned the store for 3 1/2 years. “People like the money.”

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