Medina Journal-Register — The historic Powerball jackpot boosted to $550 million on Wednesday was all part of a plan lottery officials put in place early this year to build jackpots faster, drive sales and generate more money for states that run the game.
Their plan appears to be working.
Powerball tickets doubled in price in January to $2 and while the number of tickets sold initially dropped, sales revenue has increased by about 35 percent over 2011.
The buzz building around the record jackpot was already evident Monday at news stands, grocery stores and gas stations selling tickets for last night’s drawing.
Gary Withey of Fisher’s Newsstand in Albion said Monday that he was bracing for a rush for business on the day of the jackpot drawing.
“They are already going fast and the day of the jackpot is always busy,” Withey said. “I’ll have to work fast.”
Sales for Powerball reached a record $3.96 billion in fiscal 2012 and are expected to reach $5 billion this year, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association, the group that runs the Powerball game.
There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6 and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. It was first posted at $425 million but revised upward to $500 million when brisk sales increased the payout. It’s the second highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March.
The payout inspired plenty of dreams among lottery players.
“I’m going to take care of all my babies,” said Rita Mitchell, a mother of four, grandmother of 14 and great grandmother of one. “You’ll never see me again if I won. Me and my family are moving away, somewhere warm.”
Mitchell waited for her paycheck from Gi Dry Cleaners in Lockport to buy her tickets. “I’m broke and I’m going to have to wait for tomorrow,” she said Tuesday. “I’ll buy at least $20 worth and make my boys do the same.”