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Though the odds of hitting the Hoosier Lottery jackpot are greater than 1 in 12 million, many Bartholomew County residents are hoping that lightning will strike twice.
On Tuesday, six area residents claimed a combined $5.1 million payout after purchasing this month the jackpot-winning ticket at Jay C Food Store in West Hill Shopping Center on Columbus’ west side. And with Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot reaching $320 million, the stakes were even higher.
Shawna Stroud, customer service manager at Jay C Foods, said that while her customers have been curious about the big winners, there has been no discernible increase in ticket sales over the past week. She said she expects this week’s sales to be about average: around 3,000 tickets sold, roughly two-thirds of which are scratch-off tickets.
Not so for Kroger on National Road, where front-end assistant manager Mandy Johnson reports seeing an immediate increase in ticket sales over the weekend, that showed no signs of letting up Tuesday.
“I have been stuck at the lotto machine all day,” Johnson said.
Beth Edwards, general manager at Village Pantry on Washington Street, said she has seen ticket sales climb steadily as the Powerball jackpot increased since the last big win in April. She said she planned to bring in an extra employee to handle what she expected to be a 20 percent spike in lottery ticket sales Wednesday evening in anticipation of that night’s Powerball drawing, with a jackpot of $320 million.
“Anytime the jackpot gets over $100 million, I need an extra person in,” Edwards said.
Another big-ticket win in the near future isn’t out of the question. Al Larsen, public relations manager for the Hoosier Lottery, said this type of game is designed to produce about five jackpot winners each year. This year already has seen three winning drawings, but before this year’s first big win in February, there hadn’t been a winning drawing since June 2011.
“That’s the nature of a random draw game,” Larsen said.
And while Larsen said that short of purchasing more tickets, there is no way to increase one’s odds of winning. Stroud said that doesn’t stop her customers from strategizing.
“Most people pick the same numbers over and over,” she said, adding that others pull their numbers from fortune cookies, birthdays and anniversaries or leave it up to fate and rely on the randomly chosen quick picks.
“Some of our customers have been playing for years,” she said. “And they complain about losing their money every week.”
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