Powerball fever hits Augusta as jackpot expected to top $550 million

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email
Powerball fever has hit Augusta. (WRDW-TV)

Powerball fever has hit Augusta. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 28, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Late Wednesday afternoon, the Powerball jackpot jumped again to another record breaking $550 million.

Stores around the area have been busy all day selling thousands of tickets. It's the highest Powerball winnings ever and the second-highest lottery jackpot in history.

Powerball fever is sweeping the nation and is in full swing in Augusta.

"I'm trying to get the winning numbers," says Lester McCain.

Some believe it's an art.

"Some of them are going to be my kids' birthdays and quick picks," MCain said.

McCain is dreaming about the $550 million jackpot.

"That would be a lot of money right there. I could pay a lot of bills off and take care of a lot of people," he said. "You're going to have some relatives you haven't seen in 20 years."

"It's getting exciting. It's getting up there, people are getting excited about it ... they want to win," said Bodie's store employee Lisandra Gilliam.

Odds may be 1 in 175 million, but McCain says it's worth the $2.

"It's fun. Just taking a chance, that's what the lottery's all about. A lot of people say, well you're just throwing your money away, but the person that won threw some money away and they took a chance. That's all it's about, just taking a chance to win."

This year sales of Powerball tickets are up 35 percent from 2011, meaning more and more people are taking that chance.

Business has been booming for this lotto stop on 13th Street since the jackpot rolled over Saturday.

"We've got people playing for businesses and getting 100 at a time," Gilliam said.

MCain said he just wants the winning ticket to be someone from this area.

"We don't want it to go upstate this time. We want local people to win this big money this time," he said.

The only fact here is that you have to play to win.

"Today is the day. Georgia Lottery says today could be your day," Gilliam laughed.

No matter what happens when the numbers are drawn Wednesday night at 11 o'clock. The big winner here is education for Georgia and South Carolina.

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