Powerball tickets fly as prize hits N.C. high

Staff WriterJanuary 20, 2007 

  • Tonight's jackpot is a big deal for North Carolina players, but it doesn't rank in the top five nationally in the past decade:

    $365,000,000 on Feb. 18, 2006

    $340,000,000 on Oct. 19, 2005

    $314,924,354 on Dec. 25, 2002

    $295,700,932 on July 29, 1998

    $294,964,114 on Aug. 25, 2001


— Powerball doesn't appeal to Stephen Agurs. Even when a state record $205 million jackpot is at stake.

Agurs, 34, of Raleigh, was the last of eight customers in line at the Han-Dee Hugo's/BP gas station at 2744 Capital Blvd. on Friday afternoon. The seven before him either purchased or cashed in Powerball tickets. He didn't.

"The odds are against you," he said while walking back to his car. "The chances to hit are minimal. It just doesn't seem to be worth it, even at a dollar."

A lot of folks disagreed.

By midevening, Friday's ticket sales had powered past $712,500 -- about $1,000 a minute, lottery spokeswoman Pamela Walker said. "Obviously [high turnout] is good for sales, which is going to be better for education," she said.

(Sure, that's why they're buying).

The highest single-day Powerball sale since its inception in North Carolina in May was $3.1 million Sept. 23. That day, the jackpot was $203 million. So far only one jackpot ticket, for $74.5 million, has been purchased in North Carolina. Walker hopes for another one this weekend.

But why not hope nobody wins so the buying momentum continues to Wednesday?

"I think it would be good both ways for North Carolina," she said. "It could roll [higher], and that would obviously be another record for North Carolina -- and potentially drive sales up more.

"A winner would create a lot of excitement."

Players have until 9:59 tonight to help the children.

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