As Mega Millions reaches all-time high, Duluthians test their odds
"I got the winning numbers right here," said Jim Davis. He was grinning as he picked up his Mega Millions lottery ticket. His odds aren't great though; one in more than 302 million. But if by some infinitesimal chance he picked the correct 6-numb...
"I got the winning numbers right here," said Jim Davis.
He was grinning as he picked up his Mega Millions lottery ticket. His odds aren't great though; one in more than 302 million. But if by some infinitesimal chance he picked the correct 6-number combination, he'll be the world's next billionaire.
As the Mega Millions jackpot eclipsed $1.6 billion, potential 1 percenters around the country converged on their local gas stations, all hoping to snag the largest jackpot ever.
"Almost every customer seems to buying them," said Alecia Cardle, a cashier at Kwik Trip in Lincoln Park.
Cardle said a normal day at the gas station sells a few hundred dollars worth of lottery tickets. Last Monday, the Kwik Trip sold 124 tickets for $431. However, after no winning numbers were announced for the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpots, the number of tickets sold Friday skyrocketed to 655, amounting to $3,344.
Other gas stations around the city are seeing similar spikes. A cashier at the Mini Mart on West Superior Street said the number of tickets sold jumped four to five times as much as what they usually see. Employees at the Holiday Stationstore on London Road and 24th Avenue East estimate they're selling 10 times the normal amount.
"It usually begins to spike when the numbers hit $500,000 or $600,000," said Hal Abernathy, the manager of the gas station. "It just becomes a frenzy."
While minds ran wild searching for a sign of the winning combination, so did the fantasies of what one would do with a 10-digit check. Jim Davis said he would start with a vacation somewhere tropical, maybe Hawaii. But after that, he'd invest it in cancer research.
"I would donate to kidney and breast-cancer research," Davis said. "My family has had complications with those diseases for a while. I was born without a kidney and my mom needed to have one removed."
At the Minit Mart in Lincoln Park, Tim Hindman expressed similar interest in pursuing something philanthropic with his winnings.
"I'd pay off my debt, pay off my friend's debt, then donate to local charities that help out with social issues," Hindman said. "I've benefited from those, so I want to give back."
Hindman is a Daily 3 player. He doesn't usually throw money at the bigger lotteries - except when the jackpot gets this big. And when it does get this big, he uses an old Chinese proverb to guide his number selection.
"You don't follow the numbers, you let them come to you," said Hindman.
The $1.6 billion jackpot surpasses the former all-time record, set by a Powerball drawing in January 2016, which rose to $1.586 billion. If it seems like these astronomical numbers are happening more frequently, it's because they are.
In 2015, lottery officials toyed with the odds of winning the jackpot, and lessened the chance of someone cashing in. As the jackpots remain unclaimed and grow, so do the number of people who buy into them. Before the odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot was one in 302 million, they were one in 259 million.
No matter what the odds are, if there is to be a winner, the next time they could be selected is Tuesday at 10 p.m.