$500 Million Powerball Jackpot Brings Out Superstitions

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CLEAR BROOK, Va. At $500 million, Wednesday night’s Powerball lottery is the third highest jackpot of all time.

In anticipation of the large pot, Virginia lottery officials estimate the Commonwealth will sell over two million Powerball tickets on Wednesday alone.

“At certain times, Virginia may sell 400,000 Powerball tickets per minute,” said John Hagerty, a spokesperson with the Virginia Lottery.

“Powerball is a lottery game that’s played in 44 states across the country, plus the District of Columbia,” Hagerty continued. “So it’s pretty close to a national lottery game.”

In Virginia, all proceeds from the lotteries go to fund K-12 education. 

“Last year, the Virginia Lottery raised half a billion dollars for K-12 education,” Hagerty added. “It’s something we’re very proud of.”

From his experience working for the Virginia Lottery, Hagerty said he has seen many different superstitions people have when it comes to buying their lottery tickets.

“They might [pick] family birthdays, or numbers that they like. They might have a favorite time to purchase a ticket,” Hagerty said. “Of course, none of those really bring anymore advantage, because it’s completely random how the winning numbers are going to come up.”

Despite the facts, some people will even go so far as to buy tickets from a so-called “lucky store,” like the Olde Stone Truck Stop on Martinsburg Pike, near the Virginia-West Virginia state line. In 2012, a cashier at the store sold a woman two $1 million Powerball tickets, and the store said it’s seen an increase in lottery sales ever since.

“The woman came in, and she wanted one of each [ticket],” said Khanoka Cochran, the cashier who sold the woman her lucky tickets. “I ended up printing out two of the same numbers, and well, those ended up being the winning numbers.”

Those that purchased lottery tickets can’t seem to help but think about what they would buy first, if they won.

“First, I would buy a new car,” said Kathy Crawford, a West Virginia resident who purchased two Powerball tickets from Khanoka at Olde Stone. “Then, I would take my granddaughter and family to Disney World.”

As for the cashier that has sold winning Powerball tickets, Cochran said she had already bought her Powerball ticket that morning. 

“I would buy [my family] a house, and then start going [around] and helping everybody else,” she said.

Powerball tickets cost $2, and must be paid for in cash. Sales close at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

For more information on Powerball, click here.

For more information on the Virginia Lottery, click here.

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