No one from New Jersey won the multistate Mega Millions (the numbers were 02-04-23-38-46, with the Mega Ball 23) which was a world-record $640 million annuity jackpot (the cash payout was $462 million) was drawn at 11 p.m. Friday.
But ahead of the draw, plenty of people were trying.
“It’s got to be somebody,” Robin Taliaferro, of Pleasantville, said Friday while working at Home Liquors on the Black Horse Pike. “A dollar bill and a dream.”
At about 7:30 p.m., there was a lull at the store in the otherwise frenzy of two days in which people rushed to purchase what could be a winning ticket.
However, 22-year-old Taliaferro said she expected to have another surge in business — in the form of lines formed out through the store’s front door — of last-minute dreamers.
Friday night’s rush reflected steady sales earlier in the day as area residents went out in droves to beat the late-night rush.
Sales of the multistate Mega Millions were so brisk for Maria Lee on Friday morning that she decided she would pre-print stacks of lottery tickets in increments of five to have them ready for customers to buy. That way customers could enter the store, hand over their money and leave seconds later.
“See how quick it is?” the owner of the Linwood 7-Eleven said. “It’s in and go.”
Lottery ticket-holders in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland each selected the winning numbers and will split a $640 million jackpot that was believed to be the world’s largest such prize, a lottery official said Saturday.
Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, said his state’s winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis. The winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, he said.
The Maryland Lottery announced earlier Saturday that it had sold a winning ticket at a retail store in Baltimore County. No details were immediately available about the Kansas ticket.
Lang said each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes.
Even with steep odds — mathematicians say a person is 50 times more likely to get struck by lightning than to win the Mega Millions lottery — the chance for financial freedom was enough to lure many to spend that dollar, or $50 in the case of John Roche, 60, who purchased a wad of lottery tickets Friday morning.
“I’m feeling lucky,” the Linwood retiree said. “What the heck?”
In addition to letting the machine pick the numbers, Roche hand-picked 10 sets of numbers using birthdays from himself, his parents, wife, her parents, their children and grandchildren.
Others, such as Bill Garr, 63, also of Linwood, bought 10, and not because he was feeling particularly lucky — but for no reason other than he could.
“Because I had an extra $10 on me,” he said.
Others said they didn’t feel the need to buy more than one or two tickets.
“If it wasn’t meant for me to win off two tickets, God didn’t mean for me to win,” said Sorina Strickland, 45, who bought her tickets at the Northfield 7-Eleven.
Still others, such as Bernard Glass, 71, said he doesn’t normally buy lottery tickets but made an exception this time.
“I don’t believe in lottery tickets,” he said as he purchased a ticket in Linwood. “It’s just something to do.”
While some lottery buyers were starting off doubtful they would hit the jackpot, others already had plans for what they would do if they were to win.
“If I win, I’m quitting, we’re closing the company and I’m going to go to Europe,” said Catherine Trainor, 64, of Galloway Township, who works at an outpatient doctor’s office.
Stephanie Martin, 23, and Kelly Trimm, 41, who work at the Law Firm of Richard Press in Pleasantville, said they were in a lottery pool with two other co-workers and buying 20 tickets among the four of them. Martin and Trimm talked about using the winnings to buy a vacation house in Florida and yearly passes to Disney World.
“I would still work,” Martin said.
“Not me,” Trimm said.
George Godfrey, 46, of Linwood, bought 10 tickets with the dream of retiring as a lawyer if he won.
“Somebody’s going to win,” he said. “If you don’t play, you don’t win.”
While sales were brisk in the morning, Northfield 7-Eleven store manager Kinjal Patel said he would expect to be even busier later in the afternoon when school lets out.
Patel also wasn’t immune to the lottery fever, teasing a customer who asked for a pen, telling her, “If this is the lucky pen, I want some money for it.”
Taliaferro was like Patel, and said she hoped if a winner was someone who bought their ticket at the liquor store, she would get a little kickback.
“Don’t forget who printed that ticket,” she said. “They’ll come back and take care of us.”
Contact Hoa Nguyen:
Contact Caitlin Dineen: