By The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot at a record $1.6 billion, people are snapping up tickets across the U.S.
The Powerball jackpot also has climbed. It’s up to an estimated $620 million for Wednesday’s drawing. That would make it the fifth-largest jackpot in U.S. history.
But much of the focus has been on Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing and what would be the largest jackpot prize in U.S. history.
From San Diego to New York, people are dreaming of how they would spend the money should they beat the astronomical odds of winning.
Little Rock, Arkansas, housekeeper LaCrystal White initially said her first order of business would be to pay off bills and student loans, then buy herself a house and car. But the 34-year-old quickly reconsidered.
“Well, first I’m going to give something back to charity. That’s what I’m going to do,” White said. “I am. I’m going to give back to charity and then I’m going to splurge. Put up college funds for my kids and just set myself up for the rest of my life.”
Then she told everyone who was at the gas station where she bought two Mega Millions tickets on Sunday that she would give them $1 million each if she won. She went on to add that she planned to buy more tickets later.
Arkansas is one of 44 states where the Mega Millions is played. It’s also played in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nathan Harrell was in downtown Chicago for work Saturday when he stopped in at a 7-Eleven and handed the clerk two $20 bills — one for 10 Powerball tickets at $2 each and the other for 10 Mega Millions at $2 each. It’s been a few years since he’s spent anything on the lottery.
“It’s gotta be in the news for me to think about it,” the 36-year-old, who works in finance and lives on the city’s North Side, said.
He said he and his wife have talked over the years about what they’d do if they won, and she said she’d keep working. “So she probably wouldn’t want me to quit my job,” he said.
Harrell said that as he rode the train to work, he had thought about what else he would do. He figures he’d set up a trust fund for his two children.
“We wouldn’t sweat the small stuff anymore,” he said. “Nothing crazy, but who knows.”
In Phoenix, Tim Masterson, a 41-year-old scientist, ran into Kings Beer & Wine, an upscale convenience store and beer bar, to buy seven Mega Millions tickets while his family waited in the car outside.