Ticket Sales At Fever Pitch For Record $60 Million Lottery
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Another gold rush swept California on Saturday as the allure of a record $60 million lotto jackpot sent throngs scrambling to liquor stores, gas stations and supermarkets to buy tickets.
From San Diego to the Oregon border, Californians with visions of the good life snatched up $1 ″Lotto 6-49″ tickets in bunches of fives, 10s, 100s, even more than 1,000, lottery outlet operators said.
The winning numbers were 5, 20, 26, 28, 32 and 39. The bonus number was 3, which would be combined with tickets carrying five of the six winning numbers. Those tickets are eligible for a special prize pool.
Lottery officials did not know if there was a winner and said they wouldn’t know until Sunday. Regardless, winners would not be able to collect money until Monday.
″I can’t stop buying tickets. I kept dreaming last night that this was my big chance. Maybe I’m sick or something, but I sure am having fun thinking this might be my big chance,″ said Kevin Swanson at the Fox Plaza Market in San Francisco. Swanson spent $187 on tickets.
By Saturday’s 8 p.m. drawing, the jackpot hit $60.8 million, a North American record eclipsing the $55.16 million jackpot in a Florida lottery last month, said lottery spokesman John Schade.
Ticket sales resumed for the day at 6 a.m. and by noon 11.4 million were sold. One hour later, the number had jumped to 15.3 million tickets sold, and leaped to 39.5 million at the end of the day, Schade said.
The lottery jackpot hit the ceiling because nobody picked the six winning numbers between 1 and 49 in Wednesday’s $33.4 million lottery. The jackpot rolled over to the Saturday game and grew with each ticket sale.
Sales ran well ahead of the pace set in June for California’s record $51.4 million jackpot, a view store owners who operate state lottery machines wholeheartedly agreed with.
″It’s just reached a fever pitch. Here, everybody is ‘O-D-ing’ on the lottery,″ said Daphne Myrann at the Shell gas station in Lake Isabella, a retirement resort in Kern County.
″We haven’t had one customer in here this morning who hasn’t played the lottery,″ said Christin Bazzi at Ray’s Liquor Center in San Diego. ″We had one guy who spent $1,040, all for himself. That guy’s some gambler.″
Sales were so fast at the 7-11 store in Redding, 250 miles northeast of San Francisco, that manager Lester Meek had to abandon his accounting and man the cash register. He was considering calling in a third clerk.
″They kind of get a faraway look, like they’re preplanning,″ Meek said of ticket buyers. ″I hope they’re not letting themselves in for a big letdown. A lot of them laugh about it, but they’re still buying. It’s going to get pretty hairy in here.″
Tom Licouris, owner of Uncle Tom’s Liquors in Fresno, said customers were buying record numbers of lotto tickets.
″It’s been real good. We open at 6 a.m. and we had them standing outside in line already,″ Licouris said.
In Los Angeles’ Chinatown, a steady stream of customers lined up in front of two lotto machines in George’s Liquor.
″We expect to sell 25,000, maybe 30,000 tickets today,″ said owner George Lee. One of the busier lotto venues in the city, the store sells about 9,000 tickets on an average day, he said.
″This is very exciting for the people,″ he said. ″We have mostly poor people around here so that’s a lot of separate sales.″