Khallinah Waiters bought her first pair of Powerball tickets on her son’s two-month birthday.
“If I win, I’ll take my son on vacation and we’ll never come back,” Waiters, 26, said on Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan.
Waiters is just one of millions purchasing tickets across the nation in hopes of winning the $1.5 billion jackpot. The jackpot is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history, beating Mega Million’s $656 million record. The cash option would pay out $930 million before taxes.
While ticket-buyers are more likely to die from an asteroid strike than win the Powerball lottery, sales have overwhelmed sellers all over the U.S. At Pooka News near Times Square, customers had lottery fever.
Ark Mikhaylov, 24, said the cost of buying a Powerball ticket is worth the slim chance of winning.
“Financially speaking, it’s a pretty low investment,” Mikhaylov said of the $2 ticket price ($3 if you use the bonus Power Play). “… it’s just kind of fun to roll the dice.”
The tax accountant said the first thing he’d do as a multi-millionaire is pay off student loans. After that, he’d jet off to Australia.
Kate Wilkie, 23, said she would want to help pay off her mother’s significant medical bills for multiple sclerosis treatment, and donate to medical research to help develop stem cells to fight the disease.
After that, she’d “get off the grid for a while” and go to either the Maldives, South Africa or Thailand.
While the record-breaking jackpot is drawing new ticket gamblers to the game, New Yorkers like Rosemary Oliveri have been buying tickets for years. Oliveri and two of her coworkers started buying tickets together every week 10 years ago in hopes of splitting the profit.
If she won, Oliveri said she’d donate some of the money to charity, but she’d certainly keep enough for a trip to Spain.
While Oliveri and her coworkers haven’t won anything higher than $100, she said they keep at it.
“There’s always the possibility [of winning].”