People showed up at convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations across the country on Halloween hoping to find their own treat: a shot at Monday night’s massive $1 billion Powerball jackpot.
Among them was Janice Turner, one of a steady stream of people — some in costumes — buying Powerball tickets at an outdoor booth in midtown Manhattan.
“I hope to be the next billionaire,” Turner said. “I think Halloween will be lucky.”
In the same line was Scott Henyan, who was already planning to hit the 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 I’m going to travel the world, you know, doing whatever I wanted.”
In Houston, Candy Dumas, 60, a real estate director, said she came to a Super K Food Store because of the big payout.
“If I’m the lucky one tonight, the first thing I’m going to do is give some to my church, for sure,” Dumas said. “The second thing would be to buy a house for my kids. That’s what I want to do to definitely help my family.”
Guru Redey, an employee at the store, said people come to the store from miles away because it has a history of selling big jackpot winners and people like to dream of having expensive things 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 shop.
“It’s a good place to come,” Pearson said. “And when it’s a good place to come, you’ve got to come and play and keep your mind on it and be positive and things will happen for you.”
And Sally Tanner said she would give away much of her earnings after buying herself a house and paying off her son’s college expenses.
“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 keep some for us. I guess my cup will be full, but when it overflows, I’ll bless others.”
The jackpot soared after no one matched all six numbers. 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, proof of how slim the odds of hitting the jackpot are: 1 in 292.2 million.
Monday’s massive jackpot comes less than two years after another lottery hit the $1 billion mark. A ticket matched all six numbers drawn on January 22, 2021, in the Mega Millions drawing to win the $1.05 billion jackpot.
Huge lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery operators have adjusted game rules and ticket prices to draw the top prizes. The most recent tweak came in August, when Powerball officials added an extra drawing day — from two drawings a week to three — in an effort to create bigger prizes and boost sales.
Although the odds of winning are slim, the chances of someone — or even many players — finding the winning numbers increases. This is because as the jackpot grows, more and more people want to play.
The $1 billion prize is for winners who choose to take the entire amount in 29 annual payments. Almost all winners opt for a lower cash payout, which for Monday’s drawing would have been about $497.3 million.
Once a winning ticket matches the drawing, the Powerball jackpot restarts at $20 million and continues to increase each drawing until it is won.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.