Got a lucky number? Time to use it.
People have been flocking to gas stations and grocery stores to get in on the chance to win a record $700 million Powerball jackpot, the highest U.S. lottery prize in history.
Powerball numbers are rolled every Wednesday and Saturday. After Wednesday’s $500 million-plus jackpot was not matched – five white balls out of a drum of 69 balls and one red ball out of a separate drum of 26 balls – the prize increased, and is expected to continue to as people give into the fever.
How much is $700 million, really?
To put that number into perspective, let’s say every Forsyth County resident splits it evenly. According to 2014 census data, that’s $3,426.30 for every single person.
The Ga. 400 widening project? That could be done almost 15 times.
Or we could build seven new courthouses, seven new jails and 14 new parking decks.
The jackpot hype seems to be spreading through Forsyth faster than the flu in an elementary school.
Though a cashier at the QT gas station on Buford Highway (Hwy. 20) and Samples Road could not comment without permission from a corporate supervisor, four people completed transactions in three minutes around 5 p.m. Thursday. Two bought Powerball tickets.
Lamont Stevenson, shift manager at the RaceTrac gas station on Hwy. 20 and Market Place Boulevard, said “a lot more than normal” have been sold at the store, and it is expected to increase even more Friday and Saturday.
“We’re getting people in who don’t even play, and they’re asking how to do it,” he said.
People have bought just one ticket or a few for themselves. Others have come in to buy tickets for their whole office.
For his part, Stevenson said, he likes to buy one or two in the days leading up to the drawing, giving him about 10 when all is said and done.
The jackpot, which began Nov. 7 and has rolled 18 times, can be paid out as a $700 annuity prize over 29 years in graduated payments or as a lump cash sum of about $428.4 – most winners chose the cash.
One winning ticket worth $1 million from Wednesday’s drawing was sold in Savannah.
Eight winning tickets worth $50,000 were sold in Conyers, Acworth, Lawrenceville, Warner Robins, College Park, McRae, Atlanta and Snellville.
Another two $50,000 tickets were sold in Marietta.
Powerball tickets are $2 each.
Once you decide whether to join in on the action, another big question arises: choose your own numbers or let the computer decide your fate?
Lottery experts say the odds are better with randomly selected numbers chosen by the computer.
According to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the game, computer picks account for about 75 percent of winning tickets.
But hey, if you’re feeling good about your birthday and your old soccer jersey number, go for it. The odds of taking home the winning ticket are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the association.
As with all Georgia Lottery games, proceeds from Powerball will benefit education in the state of Georgia.