Historically large jackpot looms

Published 9:17 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

Convenience stores are getting busier as the Mega Millions jackpot continues to grow before the Friday evening drawing.

As of Thursday morning, the Mega Millions jackpot is now $970 million, and it has the potential to keep growing before the drawing.

According to a Virginia Lottery press release, sales are strongest on the day of the drawing, and peak times are from 5 to 7 p.m. The Virginia Lottery anticipates selling 6,000 Mega Million tickets per minute statewide.

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The Circle K on West Washington Street was already seeing an influx of people looking to purchase lottery tickets on Thursday in anticipation of the drawing.

“People come in all the time, night and day,” said Circle K employee Chris Connelly. “It’s even busier, and every other customer always wants a Mega Million ticket.”

People were filling out handfuls of tickets, some making sure to stick to their lucky numbers.

“My lucky numbers are 12, 30, 11 and 99,” said Timeka Harden. “I play the lottery day and night. I’m just trying to win.”

Harden knows the likelihood of winning is almost zero, but she still thinks it is worth giving it a try.

“There are a lot of people playing, and the chance is slim to none, but it might just happen,” Harden said.

Harden, just like most people buying Mega Million tickets, hopes that she does win so that she can take care of her entire family and start her own business.

There are some who just want to play for the fun of playing, even if they don’t win the jackpot.

“I just play for the fun of it,” said Brian Cansler. “But I hope I win.”

According to the Virginia Lottery website, the odds of winning the lottery are slim with a 1 in 302 million chance. The estimated cash value of the jackpot is currently $548 million.

This is the largest jackpot in Mega Millions history and the second largest for any game in North American history, according to the release. The jackpot has been growing since July.

The drawing will be on Friday evening.