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May 18, 2013

Dreams for sale: Powerball jackpot hits $600 million

Drawing will be held tonight

SEABROOK — Residents from both sides of the border may be filing their tanks with gas at the Monster Gas Station in town, but they’re also filling their pockets with Powerball tickets now that the jackpot’s headed into the stratosphere.

According to lottery officials, the drawing reached an estimated $600 million yesterday -- a new record for the multi-state game -- after there was no winner in Wednesday’s drawing. The cash option on the prize is an estimated $376.9 million. The previous highest Powerball jackpot was $587 million in November 2012.

“I’d say businesses has at least doubled for Powerball tickets,” said Monster Gas Station convenient store clerk Walter Sullivan. “And when they come in to play Powerball for a jackpot like this, they play other games, too.”

That’s why the jackpot in Mega Millions is also high, with an annuity jackpot of $190 million, $140 million if the winner takes the immediate cash pay out.

Sullivan, who also works at the Amesbury Mobil Station owned by Charles Mabardy, said business in Seabrook is brisker for lottery tickets than in Amesbury. The reason is the reputation Seabrook has for lower gas prices, plentiful lottery outlets and a healthy retail district with no state sales tax.

Sullivan said a lot of people go in with others in office pools, which have increased during this Powerball run. Sullivan bought a ticket for Wednesday’s drawing but didn’t hit, and he’ll buy another for tonight’s drawing.

“I’ll buy one, but only one,” Sullivan said. “You only need one to win.”

With two gas/convenience store complexes in New Hampshire and three in Massachusetts, lottery jackpot mania is good for business, Mabardy said.

“Business is up for lottery in all my locations,” Mabardy said. “But it’s not like it used to be when New Hampshire was the only state around in Powerball. Back then, the lines for tickets were out the door and around the building. That doesn’t happen any more.”

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