DANBURY, Conn. – Wednesday’s record-breaking Powerball jackpot has enticed people to take a gamble and buy a ticket, doubling sales at some stores in Danbury and Ridgefield.
“It’s been crazy since last week,” said Shawn Murshed, an employee at Valero gas station in Ridgefield. “There have been lines across the store.”
The jackpot is estimated to be $500 million, an all-time high for Powerball, and could still climb higher before the Wednesday night drawing.
The jackpot has caught the attention of people who don’t normally play, with some people saying they haven’t bought tickets since the cost increased nearly a year ago, Murshed said.
“Sales have doubled for sure,” said Scott Mason, manager of the Valero station. “And they’re buying more of them at a time, too. Instead of one or two, people are buying five or more.”
Michael’s Variety in Danbury has had a steady line of lottery customers for the past few days, employees said, and they don’t expect the rush to stop until Wednesday night’s drawing. Powerball ticket sales have doubled and not just regular lotto players are taking their chances on the big prize, said Melissa Mischala, a clerk at Michael’s Variety.
The previous record jackpot was $365 million, which was won in 2006 by a group of co-workers in Lincoln, Neb. The new Powerball record comes just five months after the biggest lottery payout in U.S. history, a $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, shared by three people.
Tickets have to be purchased by 8:59 p.m. Wednesday for the 10:59 p.m. drawing.
Although the idea of winning the lottery conjures up images of lavish cars, homes and jewelry, Mason said the majority of his customers have told him they would donate a significant portion of their winnings if their numbers are drawn Wednesday.