The mammoth jackpot in Wednesday night's Powerball drawing is proving irresistible to thousands of hopeful Kansans and Missourians.
A winner taking the cash option of a $550 million jackpot would get $360.2 million after taxes.
Wednesday many all around the metro were busy getting their tickets, hoping they could be the one to have to figure out what to do with all that money.
At the Red X store in Riverside, MO, the lottery line started before the store even opened. The business sells groceries, hardware, liquor and lottery tickets, among other things.
The Red X is the No. 1 lottery retailer in the metro, third in the state, and that, as well as a few superstitions, is enough to get some people coming back time and time again.
"There's some people who'll come in and want their tickets individually. One person came in recently and wanted 75 individual tickets," a Red X store employee said. "You have to turn their cards a certain way. We have some who come in here who like to rub the antiques for good luck or superstition."
"Red X has a history of being lucky," Jeff Slinkard said.
Slinkard drove from Overland Park to get his tickets at the store. He's in a lottery with co-workers and they are buying close to 100 tickets all over the metro. He said work is going to be very dark if they hit the winner numbers.
Carl Johnson is spreading his $100 around the metro too. He's convinced he's got the lucky ticket and he already has a plan for the money.
"Give a lot of it away. You see all these homeless people, they are going to have their day, all of them," Johnson said.
After waiting in line, Mary Clark has a plan for her ticket, but it doesn't include herself.
"It's for someone who is handicapped and they like this. They said, ‘please buy me something, no matter where you stop,'" she said.
KCTV5's Jeanene Kiesling asked Clark, if her friend wins, did she think there would be a little something for her.
"I don't want it," Clark said. "I don't need it. I've got everything I need."
At one point Wednesday lottery officials estimated 10,000 tickets were being sold every hour.
The Kansas Lottery reports that sales of Powerball tickets in the state topped $1.1 million on Tuesday alone, for a total of nearly $1.8 million since Sunday.
This is the largest Powerball jackpot in history and, while many are dreaming of instant riches, others are wondering where the rest of the money from ticket sales goes.
Some of the money helps in the classroom, while some goes to the boardroom.
Many have seen the Missouri lottery commercials talking about how playing the lottery, whether it's the Powerball or a simple scratch off ticket, will help education in the state.
In Missouri, for every dollar spent, nearly 25 cents goes to Missouri public education. In the last fiscal year Clay County received $5.3 million and Jackson County got nearly five times that with $24.3 million in lottery money. Almost 65 cents for every dollar spent was given out as prize money, with the remaining change going to retailers who sold the winning tickets and administrative costs.
In Kansas the lottery cash doesn't automatically head to a classroom.
In Kansas the legislature decided to throw its lottery money not toward schools, but instead economic development. For the first $50 million brought in, almost 30 cents of every dollar goes to the state. Fifty-seven cents goes back to the winners with the rest divided by retailers' winnings and administrative costs.
Of that state money, 85 percent goes towards economic development with the remaining 15 percent going toward adult and juvenile detention facilities.
But Kansas lottery officials said just because there's not money going directly to schools it could still happen. Any money made over $50 million goes to the state general fund which can choose to put it towards schools or somewhere else legislators decide it's needed.
So far the Missouri Lottery has contributed more than $4 billion to Missouri and public education.
Ticket sales in Kansas end at 8:59 p.m. Central, one hour before the drawing.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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