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$415 million Powerball jackpot drawing draws out-of-staters

JEFF CLARK/SUN HERALD 
 Mikell Bankston sells a Powerball Lottery ticket to a customer Friday, May 6 at the RacTrac store in Slidell.
JEFF CLARK/SUN HERALD Mikell Bankston sells a Powerball Lottery ticket to a customer Friday, May 6 at the RacTrac store in Slidell.

SLIDELL -- The number of car tags from out of state was a good indicator something was happening at the RaceTrac convenience store on Gause Boulevard in Slidell. What was "happening" was people laying down their money for a chance at hitting it big on the multi-state Powerball Lottery.

The Powerball drawing will be at 9:59 p.m. Saturday. And with a jackpot hovering about $415 million, it's one of the largest in lottery history.

The $415 million is indeed large, but it's not even the largest of the year. It is

a far cry from the $1.6 billion jackpot awarded in January.

But it was enough to appeal to the hopeful.

"That $415 million is a lot of money," Trae Givens of Purvis said. "I decided to come down and get some tickets because you never know -- I may be the winner."

The chances for Givens or anyone playing the Powerball to win are slim -- 1 in 292 million, to be precise.

"I know the chances aren't great that I will win, but I will never know if I don't buy a few tickets," he said.

The opportunity to possibly win a half a billion dollars means more traffic for Powerball stores, especially those that border other states.

A RaceTrac store official said the Slidell store had seen an increase in foot traffic since the jackpot increased to $415 million.

"In instances of large lottery jackpots, RaceTrac does experience heightened lottery ticket sales," said communications manager Karissa Bursch. "Due to the central location of many of our stores, residents from neighboring states and regional areas often pay us a visit to get their tickets -- and this is especially the case with our stores in Slidell due to their proximity to the Mississippi state line."

Bursch said the Slidell stre does well when the anticipation of winning millions increases.

"Many Mississippi residents cross over to play in Louisiana, especially when there's a large jackpot," she said. "Our stores in Slidell are some of RaceTrac's most highly trafficked stores for lottery."

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