The lottery game Mega Millions is one of many gambling games that Americans play. But what makes it special this week, is that it’s the largest lottery prize in history.
Around 3.5 million lottery tickets were sold in Michigan alone last year, but since then the prize is a lot higher than usual. Lottery retailers and vendors have witnessed an increasing number of customers.
“Almost every other customer is buying a ticket today,” said Chris Webster, 37, who works at the Circle K gas station in downtown Grand Rapids near Grand Rapids Community College’s main campus. “Even our daily customers who never played the lottery are getting tickets and trying their chances.”
Another Circle K employee, Tracy Brown, 36, of Grand Rapids, said that even last week they noticed a bigger turnout on the Mega Millions lottery tickets.
“People are buying $50, $100 worth of tickets,” Brown said.
Dave Kaczor, 65, of Grand Rapids, an attorney, is not one of Circle K’s regular lotto regulars, but was compelled to buy today because of the high jackpot.
“I don’t normally buy (lotto tickets),” Kaczor said, adding that he was enticed in part by the hype. “…everyone is talking about it.”
Does he plan to keep his job if he wins big?
“No, absolutely not,” Kaczor said.
But he does have a plan for his family.
“I have four kids, so I would help all of them out and go on some sort of vacation with my wife (to) Scotland probably,” he said.
Students on campus also got the lottery fever. Most of them said that they would stay in school even if they won and others might drop out for now to enjoy life.
“I would pay for school,” said Lerahn Gibbs, 18, of Grand Rapids. “I would buy a house, a car, I mean I would invest it to make more money.”
Clarissa Castro, 18, of Grand Rapids, an occupational therapy student at GRCC, said she would stay in school and travel with her lotto earnings..
“This is kind of random, but I’ve really been wanting to travel to Israel,” Castro said. “And also, I go to a church, so I would probably put some of that (money) in there. I’d probably buy myself a car because I need one…and probably get a better house.”
Armond Burks, 18, Grand Rapids, echoed the other students with his plans for the money if he were to win.
“I would buy a house and a couple cars,” Burks said. “I would get a Mustang and a Lamborghini.”
Maria Flores, 18, of Grand Rapids, said she would buy property and go see the world with her lotto winnings.
“I would travel the world, I would… go to Paris, France,” Flores said. “First of all, I would buy a car because that’s the first thing you need to do then buy houses and stuff, houses all over the world.”
Likewise, Kayleigh Weaver, 19, of Jenison, said she would likely travel and buy a gift for herself.
“I’d probably go buy a new car,” Weaver said.
The huge lottery jackpot got so much attention these last two weeks, that it inspired famous people to try to win the big prize.The Daily Mail published that champion boxer and Grand Rapids native, Floyd Mayweather, 41, dropped $2,000 on Mega Millions lottery tickets in Beverly Hills last weekend. His net worth of $700 million, according to Investopedia, didn’t stop him from trying to win extra cash.
The drawing will be tonight at 11 p.m. The results will be available on Mega Millions website.
Collegiate staffers Tatiana Diaz, Mike Staley, and Matthew Scheidel contributed to this story.