LEWISTON — Someone has to win the Powerball lottery at some point, and Nancy St. Pierre, owner of Victor News, would prefer it to be one of her customers.

“I’d like to see one of my regulars win,” St. Pierre said, “someone who’s always coming in, supporting small business. I’d like to see someone from around here.”

Her customers were doing their best to make that happen Thursday, buying tickets along with their sandwiches and drinks and taking a shot at the multimillion-dollar jackpot.

Normally, the Park Street convenience store sells between $100 and $300 worth of lotto tickets daily. The store sold $180 worth by 11 a.m. Thursday — and that was before the afternoon rush, clerk Kevin Lowell said.

In the hours leading up to the live $500 million jackpot drawing Wednesday, the store sold $1,700 in tickets.

“I think Thursday will end up being kind of an off day, but it should get going Friday and Saturday,” Lowell said.


Without a winner, the jackpot continues building. By noon on Thursday, the Powerball jackpot had increased another $25 million, from $675 million to an even $700 million, a record lottery jackpot. The previous record was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, paid out in March 2012.

Maine Lottery officials expect the amount to keep rising through Saturday’s 11 p.m. drawing.

“We’ve had some people speculate that we’ll get close to that $1 billion jackpot,” said Tim Poulin, deputy director of the state’s Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations. “I think it’ll be somewhere in the $850 million area. If I were a gambling man, that’s where I’d put my money.”

Powerball is played in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Players pay $2 to select five numbers between one and 69 and a sixth Powerball number between one and 26. Players can pay $1 more to multiply their winnings, and they can buy 20 series of numbers per slip.

Stephanie Brown, manager at Victor News, said many were doing just that.


“I had people dropping $80, $90 at a time,” Brown said. “A lot of those were pools at work, groups of people joining in. Normally, we well sell two, maybe five. These people are buying $80 at a time.”

Lowell said he won’t buy a ticket, but Brown said she already has — just one.

“You only need one to win, according to my mother,” she said. “If you are meant to win, you are meant to win.”

Brown said the discussions always turn to what the players would do with the winnings.

“Most say they’d just quit their job and not even give notice,” Brown said.

Brown said she’d plan a vacation, somewhere warm.


“But a lot of us are talking about how we would build a community center, or a place for youth,” she said. “With that much money, you can do that sort of thing.”

The new jackpot translates into a $428.4 million cash value before taxes, for a potential winner or winners based on an annuity that pays out over 29 years.

One customer wondered how much you’d have to spend to guarantee a win. At $2 a shot and with odds of winning the jackpot 292.2 million to one, you’d have to spend at least $600 million.


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