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Powerball jackpot surges to $700 million

John Ko, owner of P.M. Jacoy’s grocery store at 402 W. Sprague Avenue, has been selling a lot of Powerball Lotto tickets to customers hoping to win the $700 million jackpot. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
John Ko, owner of P.M. Jacoy’s grocery store at 402 W. Sprague Avenue, has been selling a lot of Powerball Lotto tickets to customers hoping to win the $700 million jackpot. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

On Wednesday night, people all over the country will be clutching their Powerball tickets, eagerly waiting to see if they’ve beaten the odds and won the estimated $700 million Powerball jackpot – the second-largest jackpot ever.

The highest jackpot was last year’s $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won by ticket holders in California, Florida and Tennessee. The current jackpot has been growing since June.

John Ko, owner of P.M. Jacoy’s in downtown Spokane, said he can easily sell $2,000 worth of tickets per day when the jackpots get high. During Monday’s eclipse, a customer came in and bought $250 worth of tickets because he thought it was lucky to buy them during the eclipse, Ko said.

“I hope somebody from our store or Washington state or Spokane wins it,” Ko said.

Business was also brisk at the 7-Eleven at Washington Street and Mission Avenue Tuesday. “People are coming in like there’s no tomorrow, and it will be worse tomorrow,” said employee Melissa Smith.

Still, things aren’t as wild as they were last year went the record-setting jackpot was up for grabs, she said. “People were dropping money left and right,” Smith said.

But the odds are not ever in your favor. Each ticket has a 1-in-292-million chance of winning the grand prize.

That doesn’t seem to matter to the people buying the tickets. Katie Schneider is a regular at the 7-Eleven and said the ticket she bought this week is only the third she has purchased in her lifetime.

“I want to win $700 million,” she said. “I’m really not into winning $200 million, but I’ll go for $700 million.”

And she’s already made one promise about what she will do with the money if she wins. “If I win I’m giving (Smith) one percent,” she said.

Mark Rogers bought his ticket Tuesday and said he usually buys a ticket a week.

“It’s fun just to think what I could do with that,” he said.

This week he’s thinking big, and not just about a new car and swanky vacations. He’d like to donate some money to charity if he wins.

“I could help a lot of people,” Rogers said. “Both are fun.”

The $700 million is for those who choose to receive an annual payout over 30 years. Winners who select the cash option will take home an estimated $443 million, which is still enough to pay off the mortgage and take a few dozen trips around the world.


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