Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

If Someone Is Going to Win, Why Not Me? Mega Millions $330 Million Jackpot Seduces Lottery Ticket Buyers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

If Someone Is Going to Win, Why Not Me? Mega Millions $330 Million Jackpot Seduces Lottery Ticket Buyers

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON and TERRY DICKSON

Ticket sales for Friday's $330 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot were so brisk, Georgia Lottery employees were dispatched to stores at busy locations near the Florida border to help retailers.

At the state's busiest ticket sales location, Cisco Travel Plaza, off Interstate 95 in St. Marys, Georgia Lottery sales representative Cindy Clark said she spent much of the day helping people fill out their numbers correctly to keep the steady line of customers flowing. She also made sure there were plenty of ticket sheets and pencils available for customers.

"A lot of times they come here for the first time," she said of the many Floridians who came to the store with dreams of being a multimillionaire.

Debbie Goodwin of Jacksonville was one of the first-time customers to buy a Mega Millions ticket. She said she bought $25 in tickets for five family members.

If she wins, Goodwin said, the money will be split equally. If the jackpot rolls over, she said she'd have a hard time resisting the lure of a jackpot certain to be more than $400 million.

"I'd have to come back and buy some more," she said.

Natasha Larson of Jacksonville Beach was another first-timer to buy a Mega Millions ticket. She bought $4 in tickets for her sister and $5 for herself.

If she wins, Larson said she'll make her full-time job figuring out how to spend her cash. And, like Goodwin, she'll be back if nobody wins.

Perhaps Shirley Trimble of Jacksonville was among the most optimistic first-time Mega Millions customers, opting to buy just one ticket. Trimble said she chose her numbers from a fortune cookie she got from a Chinese restaurant.

"I've had it two or three weeks," she said of the ticket. "It's the first time I've done it."

At least one Georgian with a lottery habit was playing the game for the first time.

Brunswick resident Diane Walden, who buys scratch-off tickets almost daily, bought her first Mega Millions ticket Friday morning at the urging of a store clerk.

"The guy said, 'You'd better buy it. It's worth $325 million,' " Walden said at the Circle K store on Community Road. …

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