lottery

A screen at the Speedy Mart on Chatham's Main Street Wednesday morning showed over $650 million is up for grabs between Virginia's two biggest lottery games.

PITTSYLVANIA Co., Va. — Widely agreed, 2020 has been the farthest thing from a fairytale. But what could cap off a bad year better than winning the lottery?

The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots together totaled over $670 million Wednesday afternoon.

Local convenience store owners invariably told the Star-Tribune their lottery ticket sales were up, pushing the Powerball jackpot to $321 million.

The winner of the Mega Millions jackpot stands to win $352 million.

"The sales are way up around the holiday," said Jay Chaudhary, owner of the Speedy Mart and Exxon gas station at 153 South Main St. in Chatham. "My sales have gone up a lot recently. That's why the jackpot is so high."

Chaudhary said convenience stores like his don't make much profit off the lottery, but the traffic it brings into the store increases overall sales to the owner's benefit.

"[The lottery] brings a lot of people in the store," Chaudhary said. "They're always coming in to buy lottery tickets."

Holiday sales are also up this year over last year. The jackpot amount for Virginia Powerball on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 was less than half its current stake at $160 million.

"Lottery tickets make great Christmas presents," said Rebecca Irby, store manager at the Sunoco gas station, located in the Seminole Center at 22920 U.S. Route 29 in Gretna. "Sales are always high this time of year."

Irby agreed lottery ticket sales were notably high this month as the unclaimed jackpots together climb over $670 million.

"Oh, definitely," Irby said in regards to whether or not sales had spiked in the previous few days. "Sales have been up big."

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