SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Does it matter where you buy a lottery ticket for a big jackpot, such as for tonight’s Powerball drawing? The odds are the same, but every store believes they’re the luckiest.
There was a flurry of activity Wednesday at the Penn-Ohio Convenient Store in Sharon. The lottery machines were printing but people had to wait. The Powerball jackpot is going up, but the time was running out to buy tickets.
“It’s been really busy. Everybody’s coming in. You want to try his luck on the Powerball, It’s $1.2 billion — a lot of money,” Rasoul said, owner of Penn-Ohio.
Just three months ago, the Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.3 billion. That was the end of July. Rasoul feels this jackpot is different.
“Since it’s the beginning of the month, I think it’s probably a little bit busier than last time,” he said.
People have more cash. Penn-Ohio has multiple lines, in multiple states. Some people buy tickets on each side of the state line, which runs through the middle of the store. That was important when Powerball and Mega Millions weren’t played in Ohio and Pennsylvania like they are now.
Rasoul didn’t own the store before the games changed in 2010, but he’s hoping to cash in tonight. “I would love to at least sell that ticket because we’ll get a lot o money from that and also free advertisement. People think that’s one of the places to buy tickets. That’s what we love to do,” Rasoul said.
You can buy a ticket at the counter or do it yourself using one of the three machines in the store. Rasoul said he could hit the jackpot if the ticket is sold at his store.
“I don’t know if I can quit work because it’s just hard. I don’t see it because it’d be easy money to get to travel but maybe get a different business or different investment,” he said.
Rasoul wasn’t the only one dreaming of a windfall. His customers were, too.
“No, I can’t even fathom it. I could have fun trying to spend it though,” said Cathy Reiter, of Sharpsville.
Mike Lapcevich, of Brookfield, bought tickets in Ohio and Pennsylvania, hoping he would be lucky.
“I live right down the street and this place has been here since I was about knee high. So play them both, why not?” Lapcevich said.
Rasoul likes Penn-Ohio being known as a lucky store.
“When the numbers are high, you get people who never played,” Rasoul said.
Everyone wants to win the jackpot, but with odds of 1 in 292 million, any win helps.
“The ticket I had last week won me $17, was a $20 ticket. So this one cost me $3,” said Rick Hazlett, of Sharon.
Six numbers are drawn. There are strategies, and then there’s letting the computer pick your numbers. Lapcevich just wants to see them on his tickets.
“I just want more numbers than last time because I don’t think I had any,” Lapcevich said.
The biggest bite from the jackpot will be the taxes. Uncle Sam takes the first cut, roughly $220 million.