BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
It’s Round 2 for Illinois and Indiana residents hoping that one ticket will set them up for the rest of their lives.
Ticket sales are starting to climb in Vermilion County as the drawing for a record Powerball jackpot gets closer. The jackpot — as of Tuesday evening — had reached $500 million or $327 million if taken in a lump sum. The total is $75 million more than the $425 million total accumulated Tuesday morning.
It’s the second time this year lottery players have had a shot at a big jackpot. Eight months ago, a trio of ticket buyers split a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot to set a world lottery record.
In Rossville, customers at the Casey’s General Store already were buying up tickets Tuesday morning in advance of Wednesday’s drawing.
“It’s crazy,” said Casey’s employee Sue McGee as she helped customers on Tuesday.
She said plenty of people already have started dreaming of winning big.
“It has been this way yesterday and the day before,” she said of Powerball ticket sales. “I expect tomorrow to be ever better.”
She compared the sales to the frenzy caused by the Mega Millions historic jackpot earlier this year.
While things are picking up at some places, not everybody, however, has jumped on the Powerball bandwagon just yet.
George Kumpuckal is owner of Lynch Travel Mart, 379 Lynch Dr. He said his business saw a big jump in ticket sales during the Mega Millions rush earlier this year.
That same excitement, however, hasn’t materialized yet for the Powerball jackpot.
“We’re expecting that, but not seeing it yet,” he said of ticket sales. He characterized the sales up to this point as “about the same.”
The Lynch Travel Mart is not alone. A Village Pantry worker in Georgetown said the store had sold only 16 tickets as of Tuesday morning. But the worker said things usually start to pick up as the drawing gets closer.
A worker at a filling station just across the Illinois-Indiana state line said the same thing, with ticket sales Tuesday morning there staying slow.
Illinois and Indiana are among 42 states that are part of the Powerball. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175 million. A single ticket holds Powerball’s current record of $365 million in 2006.
Multi-State Lottery Association has predicted a 60 percent chance that the Powerball jackpot will be won at tonight’s drawing
The Powerball numbers are drawn every Wednesday and Saturday night with sales cut off at least an hour before the drawing.
A jackpot ticket must match the five white balls selected from 59 balls as well as one red ball selected from a drum of 35 balls.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.