Lottery Fever In The Heartland

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The Powerball jackpot is at an estimated $325 million, so it's time for lottery fever to break out across the nation. People in the Heartland are not immune from dreaming about winning it big and sharing the wealth.

The jackpot is the fourth-largest in Powerball history. A single winner's cash payout would be nearly $213 million before taxes.

When the jackpot gets up in the hundreds of millions, lottery ticket sales kick into high gear. Casual players flood into convenience stores to try their luck and office pools sometimes end up buying hundreds of dollars worth of tickets just for the chance to retire early.

But the people Channel 6 News spoke to Saturday have changed their dreams from luxuries to providing a stable financial future.

Austin Kary and his son were passing through Council Bluffs on their way back to Kansas City, but he managed to catch lottery fever in the few minutes he needed to fill his vehicle with gas. "We just came back from Thanksgiving and saw the Powerball was $325 million and we thought we'd take a shot at it."

Kary bought two of the millions of lottery tickets being sold across the country over the past few days. Everyone has the same slim chance and a dream of winning more money than most of us can imagine. "I'd buy a big house for me and all my kids to live in. It's all about the kids, right?"

Kary, like most Powerball players, knows the chance of winning is about 180,000,000 to one, but there is a chance and the few dollars he spent bought him a dream first, the chance for millions, second.

If anyone were immune to lottery fever you would think it would be the clerk behind the counter, but that's not the case with Michelle Berry. "I would buy each one of my kids a house, especially with this amount. I would buy them all something so I wouldn't have to worry about them when I'm gone."

Of course she would still work, right? "Oh, of course. I love this place."

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