Luck struck twice one weekend in February when a couple won $1 million and $50,000 jackpots after purchasing tickets at T-Ricks convenience store in Pangburn.
Powerball days haven’t been the same since the store sold two winning tickets in one weekend. Customers flood to T-Ricks thinking it may be luckier than the next store, said cashier Courtney Cook.
With the Powerball drawing approaching Wednesday night, last minute-millionaire-hopefuls came from all over for their winning tickets. “It’s been very crazy,” Cook said. “A lot of people have been coming in all day. It’s probably twice or maybe even three times the amount of people we usually get.”
Convenient stores like T-Ricks get a boost in ticket sales when high profile Powerball jackpots, like Wednesday night’s $425 million, attract weekly lottery aficionados and the one time ticket buyers hoping to strike it rich.
Faulkner County’s biggest winner came from the Jan. 28, 2010, Powerball when Harold Baily of Conway won $25 million from a Powerball ticket he purchased from Crackerbox Food Store in Mayflower. After $3 million in federal income tax and $850,754 in state income tax, Baily claimed a check for $8.2 million.
Wednesday night winners had a shot at the fourth largest jackpot in Powerball history, choosing to either receive 30 annual payments valued at $425 million or a lump sum of $244.7 million before taxes.
Overnight, at least three winning tickets with the numbers 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 & Powerball number 32 have been tracked (two in New Jersey and one in Minnesota). There could still be other winners.
Bishop Woosley, director of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, said last year’s ticket price increase to $2 per ticket and larger states joining the Powerball circuit may explain the rise in jackpots. “Recently we’ve had other states join, namely California,” he said. “There’s a larger group buying tickets and as a result the jackpots are growing faster.”
Amy Watson won $1 million when her ticket matched five white balls in the Powerball drawing May 16. The winning numbers were: 2 - 11 - 26 - 34 - 41, but without a matching number for the red Powerball, the jackpot continued to grow eventually becoming the highest recorded jackpot when a women in Florida won $590.5 million on May 18.
Watson was referred to as “an unknown Arkansas Powerball player” for two months after the drawing. She waited until July to claim her winnings in an effort to avoid unwanted media attention.
Watson purchased her ticket at Crossroads Express II service station in Searcy on May 15. Cashier Sean Cannon said he likes to think the store brings lottery players a bit of luck.
“We hope we haven’t run out of all of it,” he said. “We’re selling tickets like it’s going out of style especially today with the jackpot climbing so high again.” Crossroads Express II is a pretty busy store, Cannon said, selling a lot of drinks, food and tobacco, but lottery ticket sales soar on Powerball days.
Woosley said there are two kinds of people who play the lottery, but superstition is a factor for both.
“There are the ones who feel like its lucky to play the same numbers and choose their own and those who don’t,” he said. “They do a quick pick.”
Statistics show, Woosley said, there are more big winners from quick pick tickets than tickets that have personally selected numbers.
Whether tickets are purchased at a winning store, selected as a quick pick or each number is carefully chosen, the odds of winning the $425 million jackpot are one in 175 million.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1213. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)