Big jackpots draw big crowds of lottery hopefuls to local stores

STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – We’ve all fantasized about striking it rich and it’s impossible not to let your imagination run wild when Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is worth $393 million and Saturday’s Powerball is $356 million.

The Mega Millions drawing was 23 33 53 56 58 06.

“I actually have the ticket,” Dante Lewis said Friday afternoon, convinced he’d already won.

If he wins the money, he said some would go to charity but he would also want to become a partner of a sports team — the Miami Marlins, to be exact.

“First thing I would do is get a blind trust. I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I won,” Jerry Zetts said.

Zetts’ strategy is that it’s better to have one chance at winning than none.

Across the country, gas stations and convenience stores were slammed with people lining up to try their luck.

One Stop Depot in Struthers prides itself on being the place to buy lottery tickets. Even the marquee outside reads “top lottery store.”

Winners from the store are all posted on a display wall.

“They come here for lottery, anything, but mostly lottery because we have a lot of winners,” employee Michael Martin said.

Martin said the line went all the way to the back of the store on Friday.

He stands to benefit from a jackpot in the store — people make promises when they buy their tickets.

“Go on vacation with me, to Hawaii, most of the time. New car, new boat, new plane — you name it,” he said.

While experts say you’re more likely to be attacked by a shark and hit by a meteorite at the same time, the odds never stop dreamers from taking a chance.

“Mega Millions is off the charts today. We’ve probably sold — I can’t even count,” Martin said.

He said one customer spent $190 on tickets.

Mega Millions gives you slightly better odds of winning at 1 in 258 million, compared to the Powerball’s odds of 1 in 290 million.

“I’ve had better luck with the Mega bucks than the Powerball,” Zetts said.

He and the Ohio Lottery go way back.

“I did a commercial years ago for the Ohio Lottery,” he said. “It ran for about six months from 1981 to 1982…and I said, ‘You can’t win if you don’t play!’”

It’s something he still believes today.