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Powerball madness hits Halifax County

Residents of the county found themselves sneaking away from their work place to partake in the Virginia Lottery Powerball Power Play madness Wednesday.

Despite the eagerness of buying a ticket and hopefulness of winning in the county, two tickets were announced winners of the jackpot Wednesday night after the drawing was held. But the winning tickets were not sold in Virginia. The winners, who had not come forward as of Thursday morning, bought tickets sold in Missouri and Arizona.

The Powerball lottery was at a $580 million high Wednesday night keeping area convenient stores busy through the week as the amount continued to grow.

Regular drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday at 11 p.m. 

Never before players, regular players, those who didn’t want anyone to know they were playing and even those who had to read directions on how to play came out to take a chance at the Powerball lottery Wednesday.

Michelle Claiborne, cashier at Centerville Apple Market on 3223 Halifax Road, said the store had been steadily busy since Sunday after no winner was announced Saturday.

“We were busy all night Sunday. It’s been steady ever since,” said Claiborne.

Vernon Hill resident Susan McLamb purchased a ticket Wednesday morning in hopes of hitting the jackpot.

“I’m playing because of the amount,” said McLamb, who pointed out although she usually doesn’t play wanted to take her chance at the large chunk of change.

Others purchased tickets for the first time, with not much thought into the process.

“I did it on the spur of the moment due to everyone’s Facebook posts,” said Emily Powell of Clover.

She admitted if she won she would have to hire a financial advisor.

“I’d have to hire a financial advisor because I’d be so overwhelmed with joy,” said Powell.

According to Apple Market Assistant Manager Pam Rowland, large groups were going in together and purchasing tickets, several were coming in that had never played at all.

“We’ve had a lot of original and regular customers but also several new people,” said Rowland.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Claiborne of the hustle and bustle of the eager ticket purchasers.

Rowland said ticket sales have been good for business, and she had hoped a local person would win the big jackpot.

Jordan Gilbert, cashier at 4035 Halifax Road Apple Market, bought a ticket as did most other employees.

“It’s $2 for a chance. I usually don’t play, but when it’s something ridiculous like this, I will,” said Gilbert.

Even though Gilbert said there hasn’t been an outstanding line, the lottery line has been pretty average.

“It’s definitely an increase. Most people are buying just because of the price. It’s insane,” said Gilbert.

According to the Virginia Lottery, a person can choose their own numbers on a play slip selecting five numbers from one through 59, then select one Powerball number from one through 35. Or a person can choose to play Easy Pick and let the computer choose their numbers, or a person can chose a combination of the above. 

All prizes, except the jackpot, are fixed dollar amounts. The jackpot total is dependent on the amount of money in the draw’s total prize pool. 

In order for a person to win the Powerball jackpot, they must match all six numbers. But there is also nine ways to win a prize in Powerball. 

Winners of the jackpot can chose an annual payout or cash option.

The half billion jackpot was the second largest ever, coming in behind Mega Millions $656 award in February.