AMBLER, Pennsylvania. — (FloridaToday.news) — Brenda Sepulveda stopped at a suburban Philadelphia store on Thursday to buy lottery tickets as Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots soared to the highest in gaming history.
“I think people are drawn to these kinds of lotteries because we all hope and pray to be lucky, that maybe we were not born into wealth, but who knows,” she said, dreaming of paying from student loans, and her and her mother’s cars.
Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot rose to $560 million with a cash option of $281.1 million. This is the seventh highest figure in history.
Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot in Saturday’s draw rose to around $875 million, the third largest. Ticket buyers have the chance to receive either $875 million paid annually or a lump sum payment of $441.9 million before taxes.
However, the games have raised concerns among some experts. Their horrendous odds – 1 in 292.2 million for Powerball – are designed to create big prizes that attract more players.
The biggest Powerball jackpot last November was $2.04 billion.
But the last time someone won the Powerball jackpot was on April 19 with a prize of $252.6 million. And there hasn’t been a single Mega Millions jackpot winner since April 18th.
Leah Nover, professor and director of the Center for Gambling Research at Rutgers University, said the lottery has historically acted as a regressive tax on the poor, meaning people who can least afford to lose their money are buying more tickets.
She said she was “concerned about the lottery, it’s really more people who buy it every day or two or three times a week” as opposed to those who buy one ticket as the jackpot approaches $1 billion.
These frequent customers flocked to the store in Cristal, Minnesota, according to salesman Elias Harv.
“This has never happened before,” Harve said. They come two or three times a day.
“Everyone has their own dream,” he added.
Back at the convenience store in the Philadelphia suburb of Ambler, Barbara Green had no illusions that she would win the top prize. Still, she couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
“Everyone has hope, so if I get some, I’ll be happy,” she said, laughing. “I don’t get big things, I know that, but I like to get little by little. Everyone does.”
Hollingsworth reported from Mission, Kansas. Mark Vancleve contributed to this report from Crystal, Minnesota.
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