MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. - With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot at a record $1.6 billion, people are snapping up tickets across the U.S.
The Powerball jackpot also has climbed. It's up to an estimated $620 million for Wednesday's drawing. That would make it the fifth-largest jackpot in U.S. history.
But much of the focus has been on Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing and what would be the largest jackpot prize in U.S. history.
From San Diego to New York, people are dreaming of how they would spend the money should they beat the astronomical odds of winning.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball is played in the same places, plus Puerto Rico.
Stephen Schaffel of Maryland Heights has never in his lifetime bought a lottery ticket. But there’s a first time for everything so when the mega millions jackpot hit $1.6 billion, “It just feels right,” said Schaffel, “I just feel lucky today. My gut, my heart, my mind is telling me right now.”
Dimitry Belonog lives in Alabama where there is no lottery so on his drive to St. Louis he stopped at the Missouri Tennessee border and waited 45 minutes in line.
“I would wait an hour,” Belonog said. But like a lot of big lottery winning dreamers he wanted to increase his chances without having to wait again o on Sunday he bought more tickets at the 7-Eleven on Shuetz Road.
“Pay off the debts first, help the family and donate,” he said.
Michel Lowe was also back for more tickets with the few bucks he won from the previous two tickets he bought before last week’s drawing.
“I want to avoid the line and I know that with a billion dollars at stake there will be a line,” Lowe.
Store owner, Sayed Abdi said the lottery fever has already made many franchisees like him a winner when it comes to an increase in business revenue.
“Oh yeah it’s a trickle-down effect for sure,” said Abdi, “you know these customers who don’t normally come in until the lottery gets so high, are buying some other stuff with them so it’s helping us as well.”
While many hopefuls dream of buying all the things money could buy Schaffel already has a set plan of where his money is going if he wins.
“First thing that comes to my mind is to give a big donation to my church,” said Schaffel, “it’s changed my life.”
Belonog remained pretty hopeful but managed to compare his odds of winning to, “Probably the same chance as me getting married for the third time which is probably not going to happen,” he said.