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Lottery retailers were Mega Millions winners on Long Island

A hopeful customer buys a Mega Millions ticket

A hopeful customer buys a Mega Millions ticket at Nesconset Cards and Gifts in Nesconset on Oct. 22. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

While the eye-popping Mega Millions jackpot was not won on Long Island, the frenzy to enter the sweepstakes created a win for numerous stores that sell the tickets.

Scores of outlets sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of tickets, and each gets to keep 6 percent of that money, according to lottery officials.

For example, East Islip Card & Gift generated about $42,000 in ticket sales in Mega Millions sales last week alone, according to the latest lottery figures available.

That put an extra $2,520 in the pocket of owner Jay Patel. 

By the end of last week, the craving for lottery tickets was already elevated, as the Mega Millions jackpot had already crested $1 billion, and the Powerball jackpot was getting upward of $470 million and climbing.

Tuesday night's Mega jackpot ultimately hit $1.537 billion -- the second largest in U.S. history, falling just short of the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot in January 2016.

There was one first-place Mega winner nationwide, a ticket sold in South Carolina.


Patel's shop was among the highest generators of Mega Millions sales on Long Island. He believes that is because he had made the shop into "a small casino" to play all sorts of lottery games.

He has three lottery terminals behind the counter, and three others in the store, so people know that they can swoop into the shop and buy a lottery ticket without much of a wait, he said.

His total sales for lottery-related tickets bumped up last week to $114,000, well above the average for a week of $80,000, he said. He gets to keep 6 percent across the board, for a total of $6,848.

Beyond that, the lottery excitement draws in many extra customers, many who purchase other things such as cards, gifts and candy while they are there, he said.

"It was a great week," Patel said, adding that he expects this week will be even better.

Commack South Stationery also benefits from making the store lottery-friendly. Manager Bob Patel said he has five lottery terminals, including two that are self-service.

"People know they don't have to wait in line," he said.

The added clientele builds his customer base, he said.

He sold $46,000 worth of Mega Millions tickets last week, the 11th highest amount in the state, according to lottery figures. That's almost twice the amount he would have on an average week, he said.

The top seller in the state was World Books Inc. in Manhattan, which last week sold $157,395 worth of Mega Millions tickets, the figures showed.

At least someone came away a winner in Tuesday night's Mega drawing: A Hauppauge 7-Eleven sold a $1 million second-place winning ticket, according to the New York Lottery.

Salma Ahmad, owner of the Townline Road store, said she was overjoyed.

"Now I consider my store a lucky one," said Ahmad, who has owned the 7-Eleven since 1999.


Ahmad said the excitement of selling a winning ticket is already creating a buzz among her customers. 

"We consider ourselves a neighborhood store," she said. "We've seen kids grow to adults here."

She added, "I hope it's a regular customer."

It didn't bother her that she will not receive a lottery-issued cut of the win.

"Just having a winning ticket from here is enough," she said.



 

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