Real Powerball Winners: Merchants Selling Tickets

The $1.5 billion jackpot meant soaring ticket sales.

A person purchase Powerball lottery tickets from a newsstand Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Philadelphia. Players will have a chance Wednesday night at the biggest lottery prize in nearly a year.

As of now, three winning Powerball tickets were sold for last night’s historic $1.5 billion jackpot. However, these three lucky (or unlucky, depending on your thoughts on the lottery curse) people aren’t the only ones raking in cash due to the overwhelming interest in the lottery.

Local ticket retailers were working nonstop to sell the $2 entries, as large groups and solo participants flooded convenience stores, news stands and gas stations in the Philly area.

Lottery retailers keep 5 percent of sales — that’s 10 cents for every $2 Powerball ticket sold. The rest goes towards the Pennsylvania government to pay for various public works. If they sell a winning ticket, though, a lottery merchant will receive a promotional bonus. Selling a $100,000 winning ticket gets the merchant $500. Selling a winning ticket to this monster jackpot? That earned a California 7-Eleven store a cool $1 million.

Su Mi Kim, who works at VIP Market on Walnut and Juniper Streets in Center City said her arm was sore after working the lottery machine for hours on end.

“Just all day, people playing Powerball,” she said. “It’s pretty much busy every day.”

A co-worker added: “We had some lines that would last a few minutes, but even if we didn’t have a line, every single minute people were in and out.”

Harendra Gill, who runs a newsstand on the corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets, said the ever-increasing lottery jackpots mean ever-increasing business.

“In the past couple of weeks, sales have gone up. It’s good for business,” he said. “Saturday night was ok, but last night — that was huge.”

Gill even said that some people have been coming in groups to buy $400 to $500 worth of tickets at one time.

Bharat Patel, who operates a newsstand on Broad and Chestnut Streets, estimated that he made between $7,000 and $8,000 in recent Powerball ticket sales, with the most to one single person being around $150 worth of tickets.

As more reports of winning numbers come in, local newsstands or shops may win a jackpot of their own. Either way, business was definitely up for those lucky enough to take part in the record-breaking lottery.

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