Mega Millions helping many dream of a green Christmas

Union Leader Correspondent
December 16. 2013 8:39PM

Bruce Hale buys Mega Millions lottery tickets from Sarah Dilworth as Al Brown waits in line at Bunny's Superette in Manchester on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

12/16/13--Mary Jane Gagnon of Hooksett buys Mega Millions tickets from Pramod Nyaupane at Bunny's Superette in Manchester on Monday. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER

Chris Brown of Hampton plays the lottery when the jackpot gets big.

The $586 million at stake in tonight's Mega Millions drawing qualifies as a big jackpot.

In fact, it's the second largest jackpot in the game's 17-year history and it has many New Hampshire players dreaming of a green Christmas.

"It would be life changing, there's no question about it. Money isn't everything, but that amount of money would give you a lot of freedom," said Brown, who plans to buy a few tickets this time around.

The jackpot soared to $586 million after no one picked the six winning numbers for the $425 million up for grabs in last Friday night's drawing.

A winner who chooses the one-time cash option would take home an estimated $316.5 million before taxes.

According to lottery officials, tonight's jackpot is the fourth largest lottery jackpot ever in the United States.

"Ticket sales for Mega Millions are off the charts as this jackpot continues to roll higher. There has even been some discussion that this jackpot could top the previous record of $656 million. Best bet is to get out there early today and tomorrow and buy a few tickets. We're hoping to make a New Hampshire Mega Millions player the next big jackpot winner," said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery.

The jackpot has rolled over 21 times since Oct. 1 — the last time someone picked the winning numbers.

Ticket sales in New Hampshire have been on the increase since before last Friday's drawing.

"It's been crazy. People are coming in and buying a bunch of them. People would come in and buy 20 or 30. We had people buying 100 at a time," said Victor Borysenko, an employee at DW Highway Mobil in Merrimack.

Brittney Carter, office manager at the Lee Market Basket, said customers have been lining up to get their tickets.

With the jackpot so high and the cost of a ticket only $1, Carter said, "Instead of buying one they'll do five."

As a worker who sells lottery tickets, Carter said customers often ask her what she'd like if they win.

"They always make promises that they'll be back," she said.

Carter said she'll probably buy one ticket, but she doesn't have a plan on how to spend the money if she wins.

"I don't know what I would do with that much money," she said.

A 30-year-old waitress from Exeter, Megan Palmer has teamed up with some former coworkers in hopes of getting rich.

Palmer would have to split the money with about 20 others, but she'd still have enough to buy a new house and travel.

"I would travel around the world forever and ever and ever," she said with a smile.

Palmer would also give some money to charity.

"My feeling is the money would be great, but it would also have its challenges," said Jim Fellows of Exeter.

Fellows hasn't had much time to think about the jackpot because he's been more focused on pulling off live performances of "A Christmas Carol" at the Exeter Town Hall this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The 7 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday and the 2 p.m. show on Sunday are the first to be held at the town hall by a local community group in 17 years, he said.

Fellows said he thought it would be nice to have a performance inside the historic downtown landmark. He put out the call for actors and decided that all donations would benefit local food pantries.

Winning the Mega Millions would certainly be one way to help feed those in need.

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