HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. With the Mega Millions jackpot drawing on Friday night, many residents are collecting tickets as fast as they can and dreaming of what could be.
Cars, thats my thing, said Dimitrios Vagios as he purchased a ticket in Hastings. Id join Monticello and just race up there every day.
Local convenience, variety and liquor stores and delis have been filled with people filing in to pick up a chance to take home the Mega Millions jackpot, which is now at more than $500 million.
Vagios said the prize has gotten so high its difficult to resist playing Mega Millions.
I play every day. You got to now, he said. Everybody has to. It's crazy now with the jackpot.
Daxa Patel runs the Ks Card and Variety store in Hastings and said she has seen an influx of local residents coming in for lottery tickets this week.
Everybody dreams, Patel said. Everybodys been trying their luck. Everybody needs money.
Fridays Mega Millions jackpot will be a world record for the highest ever. The previous record jackpot was $390 million, won on March 6, 2007. The game started in 1996, and now 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate.
Its hard to comprehend what to do with all that money, but some residents said they would make sure to give some back.
Half of the money Id give to research for cancer, Ari Mato said after he bought a few tickets in Hastings. Whats the point of all that money if its not going to help anyone?
If you do strike it big, you have two options to collect the winnings. You can take a lump-sum payment of about $359.4 million, or you can stretch the winnings out over 26 annual payments of about $19.2 million.
The Mega Millions drawing will be held Friday at 11 p.m., with five balls drawn from a set of balls numbered one to 56. The final ball is then drawn from a set numbered one through 46. With the odds at about 1 in 176 million, many people have decided to team up with friends and co-workers.
"I noticed it since last week. We get a lot more singles," said Citlali Cruz, who works at Hastings Stationery. "More people are chipping in at their work.
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