Low odds aside, local ticket sales for Mega Millions soar - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Low odds aside, local ticket sales for Mega Millions soar

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The Mega Millions jackpot is now more than half a billion dollars and the odds of winning the drawing this evening are about 1 in 259 million.

However, it wasn't that long ago that someone beat similar odds right here in South Carolina.

If you remember back in September, an anonymous man in Lexington won the $400 million Powerball. The ticket was sold at a Murphy USA on Augusta Highway.

The employees at Murphy USA have had a couple of months to deal with the lottery hype surrounding their store.

Now players are looking forward the Mega Millions, a drawing that's worth $636 million and climbing! Just Monday, that jackpot was worth $550 million. Ticket sales are pushing the burgeoning purse to unforeseen heights.

"It's Christmas," said lottery player Heather Whittle. "You know it would make for a good Christmas."

While some play regularly when the jackpots are high, there are many who have only played a few times.

"This probably the second time in my life I've bought one, but my husband passed a month ago today and I feel like he's watching over me," said player Cindy Cossen. "He's my angel, so we will see if he really is."

Mike Ellisor and his family don't play the lottery very often.

"Usually when everybody is talking about it. That's usually when I get one. We don't usually get one just to get one," said Ellisor.

When they do play, they want to win big.

"I went and got a Powerball before I realized how much the Mega Millions was. Then we went back and got a Mega Millions," explained Ellisor.

With two young kids, Ellisor and his wife, Amy,know winning the jackpot would be life-changing.

"We'll get the kids through college and probably travel a bunch and quit working," said Mike Ellisor.

They're not the only ones hoping for a bit of luck. Everyone who is playing seems to have a plan for what they would do with the cash.

"Take care of the kids after I come back from Hawaii or Barbados. Definitely going to do a lot," said a customer.

"Pay off my student loans and just live wealthy," added another customer.

Some people have a strategy.

"They are my lucky numbers. My niece and nephew's birthday and the year my mom was born," explained a man in line at Murphy Express.

Other customers are just banking on luck.

"I think I'm a winner,'' said one customer.

"Beginners luck, hopefully," said a man who was buying his first lottery ticket.

Whatever the game plan, they all know, they can't win, if they don't play.

If you win, lottery officials say you should sign the back of the ticket immediately and make sure the ticket is in a safe place. If you lose the ticket, the lottery cannot help you.

So whether winning comes from above or is just sheer luck, it wasn't too long ago that it happened right here in South Carolina.

The winning numbers are: 8-14-17-20-30 Megaball 7.  There's no word yet if someone has won.

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