Lottery-ticket purveyors are expecting an onslaught of customers this week ahead of Wednesday’s Powerball drawing and its jackpot of $300 million.
The multimillion-dollar prize, the highest since September, is teased outside several Long Island card stores in red neon lights.
“The jackpot is very big,” said Sunny Patel, manager of CardSmart in Plainview. “They all want to become millionaires.”
While Sunday was relatively quiet, with a trickle of customers into stores, several managers predicted the biggest crowds will turn up Monday through Wednesday.
Patel expects 300 people to buy tickets at the store Monday alone. The most intense crowds could form during rush hour Wednesday evening, ahead of the 10:59 p.m. drawing.
Patel’s shop has sold winning tickets in the past, with the victories tacked to the front door of the shop: a $5 million Instant Games winner in 2014 and a $780,000 Instant Games winner in 2013.
But Barry Fink, owner of Village Cards and Gifts in Plainview’s Morton Village shopping center, said he’s seen crowds for even $300 million jackpots thinning in recent years, with out-the-door lines rare.
“I guess they’re tired of losing the bigger jackpots,” he said. “The bigger jackpots used to entice them, but not anymore.”
Still, Fink said customers may place $10 bets, instead of dollar bets, with $300 million at stake.
One of Fink’s customers, a Plainview woman named Linda who declined to provide her last name, said she was discouraged by her past losses as she watched jackpots being claimed by just one person. She said she might play a $2 ticket this time, the minimum amount one can play.
“I never win anything — not even a dollar,” she said.
But back at CardSmart, Patel was optimistic about the odds for Long Islanders on Wednesday.
“Maybe they’ll win,” he said.