COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Everyone likes something for nothing and when it’s a free chance to win a ton of money, folks turn out in mass.
Hundreds of free Mega Millions tickets were up for grabs Tuesday at a Schnucks store in Collinsville. The line was long for an opportunity to win one of the 1,600 tickets, one of which could be worth $1.6 billion.
“This is fun. Lot of fun, lot of excitement going around,” said Larry Brown.
Contestants lined up to spend five seconds inside a ticket grab machine collecting as many free Mega Million tickets as they could.
“They gave me something free and I took it,” said Louise Ashford, who watched it all unfold.
The line in the Schnucks stretched down aisle 10, past the Halloween decorations, and deep into the frozen food section.
John Coffey won seven Mega Millions tickets.
“Get in there, do what I could; no strategy, just got lucky,” he said.
Illinois Lottery officials said the average person won about three free tickets for their time in the chamber.
Ashley Cooper captured nine of them.
"I think these are luckier because they come from the lotto company, hopefully,” she said.
A lottery spokeswoman said since the Mega Millions game rollover started, $18 million has gone toward state education.
In Missouri right now there are 11 unclaimed lotto prizes ranging from $50,000 to $4.4 million.
The wait to play for the 1,600 free tickets was about two hours.
“I’m hoping to be the next billion-dollar winner,” said customer Lucy Brown.