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Shopping competes with
lottery ticket sales

By Elizabeth Lee Brown
News Journal staff writer

    The ringing of cash registers Friday competed against the whirring of Lotto machines.
    With a $20 million jackpot up for grabs, several Pensacola
convenience store owners reported steady lines on the start of the holiday buying season and expected a rush of ticket buyers today hoping to cash ill on tonight's drawing.
    However, lottery ticket, sales sagged Friday afternoon at the Conoco gas station in Ensley where a Pensacola woman won a share of a $15 million jackpot last month.
    "Right now, they're still shopping," said Joanne Mai, store owner. "It's one of the biggest shopping days of the year."
    Mai said when the jackpot rolls over at least three times, the buying frenzy begins. "You'll see them buy an additional $5 more than what they normally buy," she said.
    The estimated $20 million prize rolled over four times since Nov. 13 and it is the largest jackpot since state lottery
officials last month changed the lottery drawing from weekly to twice-weekly: Wednesday and
Saturday.

    Store owners say a majority of customers don't like the new format because initial jackpots start out in the $3 million to $4 million range. When the drawing was on Saturdays only, the weekly jackpot started out at about $7 million.

    The odds of winning dropped [from 1 in 14 million to 1 in 23 million with the change. The new Lotto is also tougher because players choose six numbers out of 53, instead of the old 49-number format.
    But it is potentially higher paying because the jackpot can roll over twice a week instead of once a week if no one wins.

Alma Hayes, a loyal Lotto player, said she likes the twice-a-week lottery and has been spending more money on tickets. So far she's bought $24 worth of tickets for tonight's drawing.

    "I think there's more chance to win, rather than waiting for another Saturday," she said.
    At O'Yes Snacks on Perdido Key, a line of ticket buyers was almost out the front door.

    Lotto ticket sales were brisk Friday at Lot O'Snacks on West Nine Mile Road, but overall sales have thinned since the lottery turned twice-weekly said owner Jim Kahalley.

FROM "GLOBAL NEWS" ARCHIVES

Pocketful of tickets loses lottery, saves life

The Associated Press
    Harrisburg, PA. -- A thick stack of losing lottery tickets brought Patrick Gayle the best luck of all; it helped save his life.
    Gayle had $40 worth of losing tickets in his shirt pocket when he got hit in the chest by a stray bullet from a teenage gang fight.
    The slug pierced a lighter, a credit card, shaved the edges off some lottery tickets and put holes in others.
    "You want to talk about being lucky.'?" said Gayle, 33, who was unharmed. "Those tickets saved me."
    Police charged a 17-year-old boy with attempted homicide. Gayle turned the tattered tickets over to police as evidence last Wednesday, then went to play his lucky numbers again.

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