Record Mega Millions jackpot draws players, lines
Brisk ticket sales were reported across California as the Mega Millions jackpot hit a record $500 million.
Stores owners said they expected sales to increase in advance of Friday's drawing.
The jackpot initially 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.
"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,'" said Marcos Garcia, a 47-year-old unemployed handyman from Boyle Heights. He was near Brooklyn Liquor on Wednesday, where he bought his tickets.
Garcia said he will 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."
In Lompoc, lines formed at A.J. Nagra's liquor store Wednesday with customers buying Mega Millions tickets.
“Five hundred million dollars; it’s not too bad,” Nagra told the Santa Maria Times.
Merchants said sales were stronger Tuesday just before the drawing that night. But they expect sales to pick up more Thursday and Friday. The line stretched for three hours at a Hawthorne liquor store on Tuesday.
Six five-of-five 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 five-of-five 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 store on University Parkway in San Bernardino.
The numbers drawn 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.
-- Hector Becerra and Robert J. Lopez
Photo: KTLA News