People showed up at convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations across the country on Halloween in hopes of finding their own treat: a chance to win Monday night’s massive $1 billion Powerball jackpot.
Among them was Janice Turner, one of many people – some wearing costumes – buying Powerball tickets at an outdoor kiosk in midtown Manhattan.
“I hope to be the next billionaire,” Turner said. “I think it’s going to be a lucky Halloween.”
In the same line was Scott Henyan, who was already making plans to win a jackpot.
“I would definitely retire, finish my house, probably buy another house, maybe buy some nice cars, take a nice vacation,” he said. “And then I probably set up all my friends and family for the rest of their lives and traveled the world, you know, doing whatever I wanted.”
In Houston, Candy Dumas, 60, a real estate developer, said she came to a Super K grocery store because of the high payment.
“If I’m the lucky winner tonight, the first thing I’m going to do is donate some to my church, of course,” Dumas said. “The second thing would be to buy a house for my children. That’s what I want to do to help my family for sure.”
Guru Redey, a store clerk, said people come to the store from miles away because it is used to selling big jackpot winners and people like to dream of owning expensive things that they can’t afford.
Dozens of people, including Orelia Pearson, lined up Monday to buy tickets at the Bluebird Liquor Store in Hawthorne, Calif., which also has a reputation as a lucky charm store.
“It’s a good place to come,” Pearson said. “And when it’s a good place to come, you’re supposed to come play and have your mind on it and be positive and things will work out for you.”
And Sally Tanner said she would give away much of her earnings after buying herself a house and paying her son’s school fees.
“We’re going through a recession right now,” Tanner said. “The economy sucks, so I’d be a giver. I’m a giver, but I’ll save some for ourselves. I guess my cup will be full, but when it overflows, I’ll bless others.”
The jackpot skyrocketed after no one matched all six numbers in. It is the fifth largest lottery jackpot in US history. The biggest prize was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won by three ticket holders in 2016.
No one has hit all six numbers since August 3, which shows how slim the odds of winning the jackpot are: 1 in 292.2 million.
Monday’s huge jackpot comes less than two years after another lottery hit the $1 billion mark. One ticket matched the six numbers drawn on January 22, 2021 in the Mega Millions lottery to win the $1.05 billion jackpot.
Massive lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery officials have adjusted game rules and ticket prices to increase top prizes. The most recent change came in August, when Powerball officials added an extra drawing day – going from two drawings a week to three – in a bid to create bigger prizes and boost sales.
Although the odds of winning are low, the odds of one person – or even multiple players – finding the winning numbers increase. Indeed, as the jackpot increases, more and more people show up to play.
The $1 billion jackpot is for winners who choose to take the full amount piecemeal over 29 annual payments. Almost all of the winners opt for a lower cash payout, which for Monday’s draw would be estimated at $497.3 million.
Once a winning ticket matches the draw, the Powerball jackpot starts over at $20 million and continues to grow with each draw until it is won.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.