Valdosta Daily Times

December 17, 2013

Dollars for Dreams

As jackpot rises, lottery interest increases

Matthew Woody
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — One dollar does not buy a lot nowadays, but for many it provides the opportunity to win hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Mega Millions is a lottery played throughout 45 states, and from 11:56 a.m. to 1:07 p.m. Monday, the jackpot rose from $550 million to $586 million.

“The regular players might buy a few more tickets, and people who never play might buy one or two, but I haven’t seen a significant increase,” said Jay Gandhi, owner of DJ’s Mart.

At DJ’s Mart, Valdosta truck driver Mark Sutton spent $1 on the Mega Millions. “I mean, why not?” he said. “I had a dollar, and thought I’d take my chances at winning the jackpot.”

Bobby Patel, owner of M & M Food Mart, had an elderly lady enter with $58, and asked, “How many tickets can I buy?” Patel said she bought 58 one-dollar tickets.

“I cross my fingers for all of my customers,” Patel said.

At the corner of Baytree and Melody, Dorthy Evans entered Baytree 66, spent $20 on gas, turned around to leave, walked three steps towards the door, then turned back around to spend $1 on the Mega Millions drawing.

“I just came in to get gas, then I remembered someone told me that the jackpot was really high, so I thought I’d try my luck,” Evans said.

At the same store, Randy Evans said, “I never play the lottery, unless it goes over $550 million, then I might as well spend $1 on it.”

Buying a ticket for a disabled friend, Debbie Feagin said, “Last week he won $250 from the lottery, so he sent me to get a Mega Millions ticket.”

Spending $1 for a chance to win more than $580 million may seem foolish to some, but for others, if nothing else, it allows a dream for a day. You can think about all of the things you would spend it on: paying down debts, a new car, a new house, an extravagant vacation, or paying bills, or to whom you would give it to, family, friends, or church.

Patel said playing the lottery is “hard luck” because it is hard if you lose, and luck if you win.

The drawing is 11 p.m. today.