This Wednesday night, somebody could win one of the largest Powerball jackpots there has ever been.
The $425 million prize for a perfect set of numbers has been rolling since June 26, and according to a release from the lottery, only twice has it ever gone higher.
Atul Patel, owner of the BP station on Chapel Hill Road that boats several scratch-off ticket winners above its cash registers, said ticket sales have increased dramatically in the wake of the 11 p.m. drawing.
“When people hear about this, they definitely buy more tickets,” he said. “The signs [advertising the lottery], they help them know and the more it [the jackpot] is, the more they come. With this one, the jackpot is big, so we’re getting a lot more [customers] than usual.”
As much as superstition comes into play when people choose their numbers, Raj Shah, manager of the Shell station at the intersection of Highway five and King’s Highway — the station where a man redeemed a ticket worth nearly $150,000 last November — said having past winners did not change ticket sales much.
“Normally, the way it works, as it [the drawing] gets closer we see more business,” he said. “With this one, there’s some publicity and people know about it, so a lot of them are coming for this one, but honestly, people don’t really know where people win. They only notice inside after they come here to buy a ticket.”
All proceeds received by the state from the lottery will go towards education, and the jackpot, if received in a lump sum as opposed to incrementally over a 29 year period, is estimated to drop to around $244 million.
Even with the smaller lump sum, many people said that much money would still change their lives forever. However, how those people would use that money varied.
Some people said they would spend some of it on cars, motorcycles, shopping sprees, a new house or houses, or an early retirement, but even more had more selfless goals.
Douglas Barlow, 38, said he would pay of his debts and start a business to make more money for his child.
Rosemary Langhanas, 81, said she has seen much of the world in her life and would give all of the winnings to her family.
“I haven’t won nothing yet, but I would have to say I’d divide it among my children and grandchildren,” she said. “I’ve traveled. I’ve seen a lot of places…I’ve lived in my life. I’d want to give them the money to let them live even better.”
And while very skeptical of his luck, Perry Shuler, 49, said if he won, almost none of it would go into his bank account.
“I want to give back to battered women, churches, everybody, especially the people here,” he said, gesturing around Kingdom Kutz Barber Shop on Chapel Hill Road. “Some people, you know they’re suffering, but they’ll never tell you. It’s a lot of people actually, and once I can make sure I can survive, I would give it all back to them.”