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Powerball not hurting N.C. lottery sales

Jun 26, 2006, 12:31 pm

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North Carolina Lottery

People have been playing North Carolina's lottery for a few months now, and even though Powerball is less than a month old, the game has paid out more than $2 million to residents so far.

Retailers saw a jump in sales last Saturday when the jackpot was worth more than $100 million.

Emma, 4, won $1 for her dad on Father's Day, that's why she's his good luck charm.

"My daughter, she wins almost every time she plays," said her dad, Michael Zylka. "She plays the Tic-Tac-Toes, and she loves to play."

Zylka plays scratch-off games every other week, but he has yet to play Powerball. He will play for the right price, which for him, is $80 million.

One Fayetteville store says more people will buy Powerball tickets when the jackpot gets bigger. But right now, the main draw for most folks is still the scratch-off tickets.

"We still have a lot more sales with the scratch-offs than with Powerball, but that's just because people don't understand yet," said Jennifer Bompus, a lottery retailer. "Once everybody gets the concept and the hang of it, it'll be a lot better."

Compared to the 30 other Powerball states/jurisdictions, North Carolina is already doing well in terms of sales.

"People are very excited about Powerball in this state, and it's obvious by how much they're playing," said Tom Shaheen, North Carolina Education Lottery Director. "We're outselling all the other states at this time, and we hope to keep that trend going."

More people may jump on the Powerball wagon as the jackpot starts climbing again, but for some, it's still about the instant win.

"Emma won $25 on a $1 ticket, and then she went to Toys R Us and bought herself a baby doll with it," Zylka added.

Because someone in Oklahoma won the jackpot a week ago, those holding out for the big payoff will have to start from scratch.

Retailers say they see more people buy Powerball tickets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is when the drawings are held. The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 146 million, according to USA Mega.

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