Lottery fever strikes as Mega Millions jackpot climbs above $500 million

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:15 am on Friday, March 30, 2012

The current Mega Millions jackpot is now $540 million for tonight's problem. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Lottery retailers throughout the area are seeing a substantial increase in customers purchasing tickets for the Mega Millions game which this past week climbed to more than $500 million.

That’s a 5 followed by eight zeros, folks, or $500,000,000; a lotta green in anybody’s book. This amount sets a new record for the Mega Millions jackpot. The final jackpot is at least $540 million after brisk ticket sales.

According to Shelby Gurski, manager of the Imperial Gas Station in Lakeview, lottery customers have been purchasing Mega Millions tickets in record numbers.

“I’ve seen an increase of at least 10 percent,” Gurski said. “I know they’re selling fast.”

Gurski added she has been selling tickets to many customers who don’t usually play the lottery. Other retailers around the area report similar jumps in sales, some up to 30 percent above average.

Lakeview Village Manager James Freed, who rarely purchases a lottery ticket, said he planned to get one before Friday.

“I’m going down there (to the convenience store) right now to buy myself a ticket,” he said.
Sales come to a halt at 10:45 p.m. today.

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