Mega Millions fever hits with record jackpot
Marcos Garcia, a 47-year-old unemployed handyman from Boyle Heights, has Mega Millions fever and it shows no signs of letting up.
"I've bought more than 20 but I haven't won a thing. I fill them out, a dollar, a dollar, a dollar and I say, 'Hopefully God gives me a few bills,'" Garcia said near the Brooklyn Liquor, where he bought his tickets.
The jackpot grew to an estimated $476 million after no one won the drawing Tuesday night, and there is expected to be much demand for tickets in the next few days in advance of Friday's drawing.
California's Mega Millions record is a $390-million payout won in March 2007.
At Blue Bird Liquor Store in Hawthorne, a line of people went around the block Tuesday before the drawing that evening. KTLA News reported that some players waited in line for three hours to buy their tickets at the store.
Six 5/5 ticket winners were from Southern California, lottery officials announced Tuesday night. Three others were in Sacramento, Redding and Mill Valley in Northern California.
The Southern California 5/5 tickets were purchased at Surf Liquor in Santa Monica, Stopper Liquor in Placentia, a 7-11 on Archibold Avenue in Corona, Tommy's Tobacco store in Imperial Beach, a Unocal 76 Station on Valley Boulevard in Fontana and an Arco am/pm on University Parkway in San Bernardino.
The numbers drawn earlier Tuesday night were 9, 19, 34, 44, 51 and the Mega number was 24.
Lottery officials had placed the odds of winning Mega Millions at about 1 in 176 million. The retailer who sells the winning ticket will receive a maximum $1-million bonus.
Garcia said he'll be watching for the Friday drawing. "I'm going to buy five more or something. It's worth a shot," he said. "Oof, I'd probably drop dead if I won."
--Hector Becerra and Robert J. Lopez
Photo: KTLA News