published Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Powerball lottery jackpot grows to $325 million

A customer buys a PowerBall lottery ticket at a gas station on Jenkins Road.
A customer buys a PowerBall lottery ticket at a gas station on Jenkins Road.
By Lesley Onstott
Poll
Did you buy a Powerball ticket?

Chicago resident Clyde Gadlin says today's $325 million Powerball drawing gives him a chance to dream.

The 65-year-old stopped Friday at a 7-Eleven on shopper-swarmed Michigan Avenue to buy his daily batch of lottery tickets, including Powerball.

The jackpot is the fourth largest in the game's history. A single winner's cash payout would be nearly $213 million before taxes.

Powerball jackpots have increased more rapidly since the ticket price doubled to $2 in January.

Gadlin says if he wins, he'd move back to his grandfather's farm in Mississippi where he spent part of his childhood. He hasn't been there for more than 20 years.

Powerball organizers say this is the first run-up to a large jackpot that's fallen over a major holiday. They're unsure whether it will help or hinder sales.

P.J. James, manager at the Lotto Mart in South Pittsburg, Tenn., said the holiday weekend may help boost sales because many people will be traveling and on the roads already.

The Lotto Mart, which has some of the highest sales of lottery tickets in Tennessee, was fairly busy Friday, and James expected people who don't typically purchase Powerball tickets to buy them because of the large jackpot.

"Normally, we might do $4,000 to $4,500 in sales, and today it may be about $6,000 to $7,000," she said.

Venu Puttagunta, co-owner of Mack's Highway Mart on Ringgold Road, said lottery sales were about five times higher than average the last time the jackpot was large.

More people may buy tickets because they've been home and have had opportunities to see commercials and other advertisements during the holiday, he said.

Even places where Powerball tickets don't usually sell well have seen a little boost in sales.

"It's not as busy as it has been, but I'd say it is up," said Josh Scoggins, assistant manager at Ross' Thrift-Way in Rossville.

Though no one had come in to buy a ticket during the time Scoggins was at the store Friday, he said the store had sold about $100 worth of tickets -- more than double the average sales.

Staff writer Rachel Bunn contributed to this story.

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