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GRCC students reflect on Powerball lottery

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By Jill Rothwell – Collegiate Staff

With an estimated jackpot of $1.5 billion in Wednesday’s Powerball draw, a world record has been set as the largest monetary prize ever. The last jackpot winner was Nov. 4, twenty draws ago.

Eliot’s News & Tobacco, located at 21 Ottawa Ave. NW is likely the closest location to the Grand Rapids Community College campus for tickets should students decide to enter the game. Powerball tickets are $2 each for a single draw.

Grand Rapids Community College students polled share dreams, healthy skepticism and charitable intentions of many prospective winners.

Jesus Tenorio, 18, of Grand Rapids said, “I don’t play because it’s a waste of time. There’s such a slim chance of winning.”

If she won, Gabriella Mynda,19, of Grand Rapids, said,  “I would pay for my siblings’, myself, and possibly my cousin’s college tuition. And I’d help my family out.”

If Yonas Araya, 23, of Grand Rapids, won he said he would help others before spending some of the winnings.  “I would donate some of it, to Bethany Christian Services because I’m very involved in helping  refugee kids,” Araya said “The rest I would take and bring my family on a long vacation.”

Even though there was no grand prize winner in last Saturday’s drawing, Michigan claimed three $1 million winners. According to Jeff Holyfield, Director of Public Relations for the Michigan Lottery, there were a total of 28 new winning millionaires in the Jan. 9 game. Outside of Michigan, three of 28 ticket holders won $2 million each.

“After extensive player research, the players told us they wanted bigger jackpots and more winnings,” Holyfield said about adding more white balls (from 59 to 69) and reducing the number of red balls (from 35 to 26). By doing so, players’ odds of winning the grand prize have gone from one in 175 million to one in 292 million, but the odds of winning a prize have increased.

In 2015, Michigan lottery sales were at $2.8 billion dollars, with gamers winning a total $1.7 billion and $203.6 million split among the retailers selling those winning tickets.

Jennifer Lugo contributed to this report.GRCC