Tonya Medlen hands a Mega Millions lottery ticket to a customer at Victor News in Lewiston on Tuesday. Medlen and Stephanie Brown, right, said that customers tend to be a better moods when lottery jackpots reach high amounts such as Tuesday’s $1.6 billion. “There is just this speck of hope that their day tomorrow will be a better day,” Brown said about their customers. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — So you did not win the Mega Millions.

The winning ticket — 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5 — was sold in South Carolina. If you bought a ticket Tuesday in Maine, you were not alone.

While players were more likely to be bitten by a shark than take home the $1.6 billion windfall — or its $904 million cash option — that did not stop many from dreaming.

Statewide, Mega Millions sales Tuesday were projected to reach $2 million, just shy of the $2.1 million one-day sales record from January 2016, when the Powerball jackpot hit $1.5 billion.

Around Lewiston-Auburn, players streamed in and out of the dozens of grocery stores, gas stations, sandwich shops and convenience stores selling tickets Tuesday.

Some retailers reported their Mega Millions sales had doubled under the massive jackpot. At Stephen’s Pizza in Lewiston, ticket sales had tripled last week and manager Hamid Monsurul expected the trend to continue Tuesday.


“We have lots of people buying lots,” he said. “It’s going crazy. Everyone is really excited about it.”

The pizza joint’s reputation as a lucky store might have helped a bit. It once sold a $250,000 scratch ticket.

“People like that,” Monsurul said.

In Sabattus, Main Street Market yearned to be a lucky store. A $1.6 billion Mega Millions win would have certainly secured that position.

On Tuesday, the market offered a special promotion: Spend $10 on non-lottery items and get a free Mega Millions ticket.

“My boss was just kind of trying to get Sabattus on the map,” said co-manager Kacie Ritchie.


Between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., the store had handed out about 200 tickets.

“It’s only a $2 ticket, but it makes their day. They’re like, ‘Are you serious?'” said co-manager Nikki McLean. “It’s so cute. I don’t even care if none of these tickets are winners, I think it’s adorable that just a simple act of kindness like that makes people’s day.”

At Bryant’s Airport Variety in Turner, sales did not have anything to do with promotions or its status as a lucky store. People got gas and bought tickets. They picked up drinks and bought tickets. They grabbed sandwiches and bought tickets.

“It’s been going all week for, like, three weeks,” manager Abby Hayford said.

Mike Blue of Leeds was among the flood of lottery players. Although he said he does not usually play Mega Millions, he bought two tickets along with his lunch.

He harbored no illusions he would soon be $1 billion richer.


“I’m just donating is all I’m doing,” he said. “I have no luck whatsoever.”

“Why not give it a shot,” said Teresa Bradford of Lisbon after buying her Mega Millions lottery ticket at Victor News in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Sales were brisk, too, at Victor News in Lewiston.

“People’s hopes are really up, even if they think they aren’t going to win,” manager Stephanie Brown said.

“The most awesome part when you have a jackpot like this is people come in and are telling you what they would do, their dreams. People are generally in a better mood just because the jackpot’s high. Even if they don’t think they’ll win, they still have that hope.”

The top plans for Victor News customers: Quit work, go on a long vacation, do something for the community, give money to family and friends.

Roger Perreault, 71, of Lewiston is a retiree whose dreams fit right in.


“I’d take care of family,” he said. “I would definitely donate to charity. And establish a trust fund for my grandkids.”

Although he regularly plays Powerball and Megabucks, Perreault said he rarely buys a Mega Millions ticket. Tuesday morning, hours before the latest drawing, he bought two. It was hard to ignore $1.6 billion.

“That was an eye-catcher,” he said.

For those players who did not win, there is at least one other opportunity this week to become a multimillionaire.

Powerball’s estimated jackpot for Wednesday is $620 million.

Fred Henderson picked up a Mega Millions lottery ticket along with his lunch at Victor News in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Mega Millions FYI:

  • Tuesday’s jackpot: $1.6 billion
  • Cash option: $904 million
  • Monday’s sales in Maine: $521,902
  • Projected sales for Tuesday in Maine: $2 million
  • Most sales: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • A Maine retailer who sells a jackpot winner gets: $50,000
  • Highest single-day lottery sales in Maine: $2.1 million for the January 2016 Powerball (jackpot was $1.5 billion.)
  • Last chance to buy a ticket: 9:45 p.m. on the day of the drawing

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