As lottery jackpots climb, retailers are the real winners | Michigan Radio
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As lottery jackpots climb, retailers are the real winners

Oct 18, 2018

Do you feel lucky? "All jackpots are good. Bigger jackpots are better," says Jeff Holyfield, Michigan Lottery spokesman
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The big winners in this weekend’s big lottery jackpot drawings may be Michigan retailers.

About one and a half billion dollars is up for grabs in the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries.

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $970 million, inching ever-closer to the $1 billion mark. Officials raised the estimated jackpot Thursday for the second time due to strong sales ahead of Friday night's drawing. The prize is the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history, behind only a $1.6 billion Powerball prize won in 2016.

Saturday’s Powerball jackpot is close to a half billion dollars.

Jeff Holyfield is with the Michigan Lottery. He says the nearly 11,000 Michigan retailers who sell lottery tickets are seeing an increase in customer traffic. And he says they are buying more than lottery tickets.

“We also have studies that show that the typical lottery player spends on average $3 to $4 in a store when they go in to buy a lottery ticket,” says Holyfield.

No one has matched all six numbers and won the Mega Millions grand prize since July 24. That reflects the game's long odds, at one in 302.5 million.

The big winner’s actual winnings won’t be quite as high as you may think.

The $970 million refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. Most winners take the cash option, which would pay an immediate $513 million. About half of the jackpot winnings would go to taxes.