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July 11, 2002

Powerball sales take off here


Why settle for $500 in Daily Number lottery winnings when for the same $1 a player can win $10 million, $100 million or upwards of $300 million? That might explain why thousands of people have bought Powerball tickets in addition to, or instead of, other Pennsylvania lottery games since Powerball came to Pennsylvania two weeks ago.

In Oakland, the new lottery game is catching on, local merchants said.

"I'd guess that the money made off of lottery tickets is up $100 per day," said an employee at the Uni-Mart on South Craig Street. "A lot of people are giving it [Powerball] a try." Stores net 5 cents on every $1 ticket sold.

Powerball, a national lottery game that is played in 21 states and Washington, D.C., became legal in Pennsylvania June 27. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday night. Jackpots start at $10 million (as the University Times went to press, the jackpot was worth at least $27 million) and build until there is a winner. Powerball players can win anywhere from $3 to $100,000 in lesser prize money.

Doug Lindahl, an employee at Gus Miller's Newsstand on Forbes Avenue, estimates a 5 percent increase in overall lottery tickets sold at his store "because Powerball takes away from the Super 6 and Cash 5 sales," two other popular Pennsylvania lottery games.

But he said that there has been an increase of 5-10 percent in the number of new customers at the store. "There are more new faces and all of them are interested in playing Powerball."

Mike Meinart, an employee at the Campus Bookstore and Convenience Store on Fifth Avenue, said that, in general, "[lottery] business is picking up." He added, "People usually play more as the jackpot gets higher." So far, the largest Powerball jackpot has been $295 million.

Before Powerball came to the state, many western Pennsylvania residents traveled to West Virginia in order to purchase tickets. "Several people have said to me that now they don't have to go to West Virginia," the Uni-Mart employee said.

Despite the 1 in 80 million odds of winning the Powerball jackpot, the game lets players dream about what life would be like after winning the big bucks.

–David Wicclair

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