MEGA MILLIONS: $640 million record jackpot has folks excited

Posted at 11:55 AM, Mar 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-30 18:01:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)  – The Mega Million jackpot is now $640 million dollars. Friday morning the jackpot was $540 million. The lottery said an "unprecedented sales nationwide" caused $100 million jump.

Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto said most people wait until the day of the drawing to buy tickets, so it has been a challenge to predict just how much the jackpot will increase.

Friday morning there was a lottery ticket frenzy, including at Richmond's Goldy's Convenience Store.  Millionaire-hopefuls were buying tickets, hoping to strike it rich.

"I would take care of my family, do some nice things for myself, probably take a couple of trips," said lottery player Timika Hamid.

The jackpot is the largest in U.S. History.  The mega millions are also bringing with it mega dreams.

"My dream is to move to Arizona and buy me a ranch, tractors and I would like to live a mile off the road so that way I could have two dogs and let them roam," said millionaire hopeful William May.

The odds of winning are slim but lottery players insist you have to be in it, to win it.

[CLICK HERE: The business of entering lottery office pools]

“We expect to sell somewhere between 12 and 14 million tickets [in Virginia] for the drawing,” Otto said. “We’ll sell close to nine million of those on Friday.”

Otto said during the busiest part of the day, she expected the lottery to sell 17,000 tickets per minute. She expected at least half of all adults in Virginia to buy a Mega Million ticket for this drawing.

“We’re pretty sure we’ll have a winner, probably more than one, just based on the number of tickets being sold,” Otto said. “If by some chance we did not have a winner, I think we’d probably be, potentially be, in the billion-dollar category.”

Otto said it only takes one ticket to win and reminded people to play responsibly.

5,200 retailers across Virginia are ready to serve the would-be millionaires until 10:45 p.m. Friday night.

Click here for more Mega Millions coverage.