Dueling jackpots have New Hampshire lottery players dreaming

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
August 10. 2017 8:59PM
The sign in the window of Xtra Mart in Epping shows the two big jackpots up for grabs Friday and Saturday. (Jason Schreiber /UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

New Hampshire lottery players are juggling jumbo jackpots this week as Mega Millions and Powerball each soared to more than $350 million.

Lottery officials say it’s the first time that both jackpots have been this big at the same time.

With no winners so far this week, the Mega Millions jackpot for tonight’s drawing climbed to a whopping $393 million — the fifth-largest in the game’s 15-year history.

If you’re not the lucky winner, don’t worry. You’ll have another chance to get rich Saturday night when the winning numbers are drawn for Powerball’s estimated $356 million jackpot.

“I anticipate it’ll be a little crazy,” Candia First Stoppe manager Marie Bamford said of the rush of ticket sales expected as players with big dreams line up.

With both games played in 44 states, there’s plenty of competition; the odds of winning either jackpot aren’t good. You have a 1 in 259 million chance of hitting Mega Millions. It’s even worse for Powerball, which has odds of 1 in 292 million.

And don’t even think about winning both jackpots. Experts say those odds are 1 in 75.6 quadrillion.

But excitement is still building at New Hampshire Lottery headquarters.

“To have both the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots well over $300 million is entirely unprecedented in lottery history. Combined the estimated jackpots reach $749 million. It is an absolutely thrilling time for the New Hampshire Lottery,” said Charlie McIntyre, the lottery’s executive director.

McIntyre said jackpots like this present an opportunity for both players and retailers, who have seen ticket sales skyrocket as the two jackpots have been “dueling it out.”

“It was just last year when a lucky New Hampshire player claimed a $487 million Powerball prize. Here’s hoping we can add two more New Hampshire winners to the tally,” he said.

Janice St. Amand of Raymond said she has had pretty good luck with scratch tickets and Bingo in the past and figured she’d get some lottery tickets, most likely at the Hannaford supermarket in Raymond.

That’s where the winning $487 million Powerball ticket was sold last July. It was the largest lottery jackpot ever won in New Hampshire and the eighth-largest of any jackpot in U.S. history. The name of the Hannaford winner was never revealed.

If she wins, St. Amand said, she’d give to charities, especially one focused on cancer in young people. She said she lost her stepson to cancer a few years ago. “He was only 25,” she said as she loaded groceries into her car outside Hannaford Thursday afternoon.

St. Amand said she would also like to pay off her home and take a vacation.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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