Mega jackpot drives up ticket sales

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) At Coastal Petro in Myrtle Beach, workers say they've been selling Mega Millions® tickets nonstop. If 356 million wasn't enough, on Monday, officials announced the estimated jackpot was bumped up to $363 million. The odds of winning the jackpot, one in 175 million.

These odds doesn't seem to have kept local hopefuls from buying their tickets. Just ahead of last Friday's drawing, Coastal Petro sold four times more tickets then they typically do in one week. Now, with one of largest jackpots in Mega Millions® history Rupal Patel, a Coastal Petro employee, says they've seen a line of ticket buyers at least a dozen times a day

"It's actually picked up since Friday since there were no winners. With the way the economy is with the gas prices, they obviously want to win," said Patel.

Whether there's a winner or not for Tuesday night's drawing, one group says they're benefiting from the big jackpot regardless. Paula Bethea, Executive Director for the South Carolina Education Lottery says they love to see a big jackpot run.

According to Bethea, anytime the Mega Millions® Jackpot passes the $100 million mark, they begin to see people buying tickets who normally don't. It's these new players that really help drive up ticket sales.

The South Carolina Education Lottery gets 50 cents for every dollar in this state. So Bethea says high Mega Millions® ticket sales, mean more money to transfer to education. Local lotto hopeful, John Hudock says he's happy to hear his ticket purchase will benefit education. "Every dime helps. I have two boys, 14 and 11 and education is everything to them," said Hudock.

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