Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 29, 2012

Lottery fever: Area residents try their hands at lady luck, $500 million jackpot

BLUEFIELD — Click here for video

Local people with dreams of sudden riches are visiting stores today and spending some money so they will have a change of winning instant wealth.

The MegaMillion jackpot hit a record $500 million Wednesday, sparking interest is getting the tickets needed for a chance to win it. Clerks at local stores expect to see the most interest in the huge jackpot today.

“I just got here, but yesterday one bought $30 in tickets,” Stephanie Barber, 25, of Bluefield said after reporting for work at the Gulf station along Bluefield Avenue. “They (customers) want to get it. They’ll probably be in today or tomorrow.”

Most people who want to play the lottery will likely buy their tickets today, she added.

“They usually wait until the last day or two to buy theirs,” Barber said, who was thinking about getting a ticket for herself. “I’d be happy with just one million.”

Across the state line at the Citgo station in Bluefield, Va., employees and regular customers were pooling their money to buy chances for the half-billion dollar prize.

“We’ve sold several today, and we’re seeing new customers we’ve never seen before,” said clerk Edith Jarrell of Bluefield. “We’ve had to explain to them how to play the game because they had never played before.”

Outside of Smoker Friendly in Bluefield, Va., Penny Wright of Tazewell, Va. was putting out a new Bluefield Daily Telegraph newspaper box. When asked if she was going to buy a lottery ticket, she replied: “I should go buy one. I don’t normally play, but since you mention it, I should go buy one.”

In some cases, customers will buy up to $300 in tickets in a six-hour period, said Zach Denardo, a clerk at Smoker Friendly.

“Friday is going to be really busy,” he predicted. “They just fly in and get one...I’ve never seen a Megamillion this big before.”

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