Who wants to be a billionaire

HERALD PHOTO/Brandy Robben

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard that the Powerball lotto reached a historical winning amount of over $1 billion this week. The Powerball lotto swelled up to $1.6 billion on Saturday, Nov. 5. There was no winner for the jackpot drawing Saturday increasing the amount to a staggering $1.9 billion, the largest in Powerball history.


The town was swarming Monday with people buying Powerball lotto tickets for the $1.9 billion drawing that took place on Monday night. Asked what she would do with the money if she won, Betty Mathson of Evanston said, “I would build a brand new house all one level because I have two people in wheelchairs that live in my house.” Mathson also said she would move somewhere warm like Mesquite, Ariz.


Border Beverage’s parking lot was full of cars with license plates from Utah. Nash Clemens of Utah said he did not play Saturday, and this was his first time at Border Beverage to buy tickets. Clemens said if he were to win, he would never work again.  


Another man by the name of Jay, who preferred not to give his last name, was visiting Utah when he decided to make the trip to Wyoming. He picks his own numbers, using his “lucky” numbers when he plays the lotto. He said if he won he “would work on my suntan and continue to live each day and not let it go to my head. I would also help out my five children.”


Border Beverage owner Julie O’Connell said, “It has been busy for the last two weeks, getting busier and busier. About midweek we were slammed. Today was a little quiter. We have seen lines wrapped all around the store. On Saturday someone gave an employee $20 to open early. Everyone that comes in is super friendly. About 95% of our customers are from Utah.”


Border Beverage doesn’t make a lot of income from the lottery sales but they appreciate people buying other items while in the store. The store gets 6% of sales and 1% of validations which are the winning tickets sold. In September Border Beverage sold a winning Powerball ticket worth $50,000. 


O’Connell said,“Hopefully people are having a good experience with the employees in the store. We have a really good team working together.”


Tessy Malan, store clerk at Smith’s Food and Drug, said the store was busy Friday and Saturday. She said the store gets busy when people get off work and almost all of their customers are from Utah. When asked if Malan plays the lotto and what she would do with the winnings, she answered, “I played Saturday but I have not played in the past when it was this large. If I won I would give it away to all the people in my life that are in need. I would invest some of it so I don’t have to worry about finances.”


The Powerball lotto has been played since 1992. It is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only four previous jackpots have topped $1 billion. The odds to win are one in 292 million.  Drawings are held three times per week every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The cut off time to buy tickets is 8 p.m. the day of the drawing.


After technical issues caused a long delay Monday night the winning numbers were finally released around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. It was soon revealed that one lucky winner in California had matched all the winning numbers to take home the $2.04 billion jackpot. The jackpot was adjusted from $1.9 billion to $2.04 billion after updated calculations.  




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