Lotto Fever!

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nine lucky Powerball players in North Carolina, none locally, got big wins ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 in Saturday’s Powerball drawing as folks tried their luck at a record jackpot.

The jackpot did roll over and will set a new record of $1.3 billion on Wednesday. The cash payout will be at least $806 million.

Powerball sales on Saturday also helped to set a new single-day record for lottery ticket sales in the state of $23.3 million, including $17.2 million from Powerball alone.

Earnings from sales will help the lottery meet its goal of raising $528 million for education this year. The sale of a single $2 Powerball ticket raises about 76 cents for education.

“It’s great that North Carolinians are winning prizes and raising money for education at the same time,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “That’s what the lottery is about,” she said. “As we look to Wednesday’s jackpot, let’s keep this fun. The odds are long to win the jackpot, but it only takes one ticket to win.”

Monday morning at Murphy Express near the Super Wal-Mart in Ahoskie, sales were fairly typical for a typical weekday.

Fredrecia Jenkins said sales were about the same as usual, but based on her experience she expects sales for the billion-dollar ticket to pick up on Tuesday and to be really busy on Wednesday before the drawing.

“Most people buy their tickets at the last minute,” she said.

Lynn Davis said, “If I win, I’ll pay off all my bills, help my parents pay off their bills, and then I’ll be out of here.”

Davis said she would be traveling the world and after a moment’s thought she added, “Maybe I’ll get a private jet to take me where I want to go.”

After another thought, she said, “Oh yeah, I’ll invest some of it so I can keep on making money.”

Asked what she would do with her billion-dollar jackpot, Donna Gilliam simply said, “Thank God.”

That was it. No indication what she would use the money for, just, “Thank God.”

In Saturday’s drawing, four tickets sold in the state won $150,000 and five won $50,000. Thousands of other smaller prizes were also won.

The nine big wins came in eight different North Carolina counties. Winners have 180 days to claim their prizes.

The tickets that won $150,000 were $3 Powerball Play tickets that beat odds of 1 in 913,000 to match the numbers on four of the five white balls and the red Powerball.

The regular $50,000 prize tripled after the 3X multiplier was drawn in the drawing. Those four tickets were sold at:

Food Lion in Charlotte, Hasty Mart in Johnston County

Express Market in Sampson County, and Freshway Food Mart in Pender County.

The tickets that won $50,000 also matched numbers on four of the white balls and the red Powerball, but because they were $2 tickets the prize was not multiplied.

Those five tickets were sold at:

Kangaroo Express in Randolph County, Pinedale Food in Pamlico County, Banoak Food Center in Catawba County, Han-Dee Hugo’s in Randolph County, and Kangaroo Express in Cumberland County.

Powerball is not the only lottery game making news this weekend. On Saturday, more than 5,000 Carolina Pick 3 tickets with the numbers 1-1-1 won $500 each when those numbers were drawn in the afternoon drawing. More than $1.9 million in prizes were won.