What would you do with half a billion dollars? Quit your job? Donate much of your winnings to deserving charities? Buy a jet to charter you to and from your private island?
Apparently, Clinton residents have given this question plenty of thought in the past few days. Mega Millions, a number-matching lottery game, has seen its advertised jackpot swell, causing consumers of legal age to flock to local convenience stores, each hoping to get their hands on the cash. At $640 million, a winner of the Mega Millions jackpot would bring home the largest lottery prize the world has ever seen.
However, that dream will have to wait for anyone buying a ticket that didn’t have numbers 2-4-23-38-46, with a Mega Ball 23.
Ellen Determan, who owns Lyons Filling Station with her husband Pat, said that the increase in foot traffic in her store has been dramatic.
A normal day will see $300 to $400 worth of lottery tickets sold, she said. Customers on Thursday walked away with $2,500 worth of lottery tickets.
With $1,500 worth of tickets sold by 1 p.m., Ellen said Friday would likely eclipse that.
“This was just crazy today,” she said.
Across the country, Americans plunked down an estimated $1.5 billion on the Mega Millions.
Many of the lottery customers had never even played Mega Millions, Ellen said.
“We had to explain how you play,” she said. “They didn’t know how much it was, how to play it. There was a lot (of customers like that) today.”
Pat said he sees about a nickel of every $1 ticket that is sold in his store. But the huge jackpot has helped boost sales of other items in the store. Friday’s Mega Millions rush coincided with his first fish fry of a year, meaning that many who came in just to buy a ticket left with a fish sandwich as well.
“It goes hand in hand,” Pat said.