Lonnie Ford, left, purchases a Mega Millions lottery ticket from Naiesh Patel at the BP21 convenience store on North Slappey Boulevard in Albany Wednesday. The massive multistate lottery jackpot is currently at a record-setting $500 million and growing.
ALBANY — After nearly nine weeks and 18 rollovers, the multistate Mega Millions lottery has soared to a massive $500 million jackpot, making it the largest in North American history.
Local lottery retailers say they’re starting to see an increase in ticket sales.
“I think a lot of people are going to try their luck” said Naiesh Patel, owner of the BP21 convenience store on North Slappey Boulevard. “We were very busy yesterday (Tuesday) during the last drawing. People were buying $10, $20, $50, $200 worth of Quik Pic tickets.”
Mega Million tickets are $1 per play, and players have an option to multiply their prize for an additional $1 per play.
Joseph Crafton, a retired United States Postal worker, is a regular lottery player, mostly Mega Millions, Power Ball, Fantasy 5 and Keno.
Asked what he would do if he won the huge jackpot, Crafton replied, “I would first take $10 million and spend it on whatever I wanted to just get the excitement out of my system,” while filling out a play slip at the College Corner convenience store on Gillionville Road Wednesday afternoon.
“The main thing I would like to do is build a senior center. But the best thing to do is contact a financial planner; you just can’t take that kind of money and put it in a checking account.”
Kelsey Achin, a sports administration student at Darton College, was not so caught up in the Mega Millions excitement Wednesday.
“I actually have never played,” Achin said, “My dad has always told me not to waste my money. I should save it for college or something else I might need. It would be great to win, but I’m not going to buy a ticket.”
A Mega Million drawing is held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. The odds of winning the jackpot prize is approximately 1:175 million. With Friday’s drawing expected to generate an estimated $500 million prize, many people are thinking twice about trying their luck.
“This will have everybody in the world wanting to play,” said Crafton. “A lot of people will be doubling up on the amount they normally play, but it only takes one ticket to win.”