Powerball, Mega Millions climbing to big jackpots this week

Wendall Bias picks up several lottery tickets Monday at County Market Express, Eighth and York in Quincy. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: May. 14, 2013 10:57 am Updated: May. 28, 2013 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Mark A. Scott says he will find a charitable cause to support after he helps his family if he wins the $350 million Powerball jackpot that will be drawn Wednesday night.

"For somebody like me to come across that kind of money at one time, I would have to give away quite a bit," he said.

Scott bought his tickets Monday at the County Market Express at Eighth and York in Quincy, beating the long lines that nine-figure jackpots typically attract as the deadline for the numbers to be pulled nears.

The $350 million jackpot is the third largest Powerball prize ever and sixth largest cash payout of all time. The one-time cash value of the jackpot is estimated at $222.8 million (if it's taken immediately instead of a 29-year annuity).

Scott says he often plays the same numbers on Powerball for a month. If the jackpot gets high, he may buy a couple of extra tickets.

"Whether it goes up or down, I'm covered for the month," he said.

He jokes that he expects a ticket to pay out one day when he brings them into the store to check them.

"I keep putting money in," Scott said. "I want a withdrawal slip."

At the same time, the Mega Millions drawing on Tuesday stands at $170 million with an estimated cash value of $126 million. The Mega Millions jackpot has been climbing since March 12, when an office pool of 14 people won $41 million in Westlake, Ohio.

The last major Mega Millions winner came in March 2012 when winning tickets were bought in Kansas, Maryland and Red Bud, Ill., and the $656 million jackpot was split.

The Powerball jackpot has been growing since March 30, when a player in Freeport won $50 million. The last major Powerball winner was Pedro Quezada, a 44-year-old New Jersey man who won $338 million on March 23. It marked the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

Christal York, an employee at County Market Express, said as the jackpots climb, so do the sales. York said customers are more concerned with Powerball right now, since it is the highest jackpot. However, most won't pick up their tickets until Wednesday "when they are getting off work," she said. "It will be crazy busy Wednesday."

As she sells hundreds of tickets, York hears what people plan to do with their money, such as buying a house.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 175 million. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 145.711 million.

Tickets for each game cost $2. The overall odds of winning any prize, including $4 for selecting only the Powerball, are 1 in 31.85, Powerball officials say.