Big dreams but little chance for lottery prize

Tina Knight helps a customer at Cheswold News and Tobacco. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

CAMDEN — The phones ring at Camden Cigars, and they ring some more.

“They mainly want to know if you have lottery and how late are you open,” manager Rushabh Maniar said early Thursday afternoon.

There’s almost no chance that a $2 Mega Millions ticket will yield $530 million, but the dream lives on. There are more than 600 vendors to purchase from statewide.

“Obviously who doesn’t want to spend $2 to try their luck,” Mr. Rushabh said. “People don’t care about $2 and will easily buy a $10 quick pick when they see it.”

Players shouldn’t over-indulge in the longshot odds, though nine prize tiers (as little as $2) offer hope for return on the investment.

“It’s very exciting when a jackpot gets this high,” said Vernon Kirk, Director of the Delaware Lottery. “While we wish all of our Delaware Lottery players luck, we also want to remind everyone to always play responsibly.”

At Cheswold News and Tobacco, there’s a board listing funny quotes from some of the ticket buyers.

“We have fun with it …” manager Tina Knight said. “People come in to talk about ‘If I win how it will be a life changer.’

“They tell us of their hopes and dreams and what they’ll do with all the winnings.”

The quote of the day Thursday read:

“If I ever won the lottery I’d still be a jerk only from my new helicopter.”

Lottery vendors earn additional profit when visitors purchase cigarettes, soft drinks, chips and more while chasing the most unlikely dream.

Raking in the seventh largest Mega Millions in history shouldn’t become an obsession according to Delaware Lottery, which issued a public reminder Thursday to play responsibly.

Sales spike as the pot grows and more people buy in, Mr. Kirk said. Delaware receives 30 percent of sales once the winning numbers arrive.

“We like to remind people not to go crazy and play within your means and consider it entertainment,” Mr. Kirk said.

Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. Players select five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25.

Delaware Lottery provided contact information for problem gambling concerns:

•Call the Delaware Gambling Helpline at 1-888-850-8888 or visit the Delaware Council On Gambling Problems, Inc. online at deproblemgambling.org. Free, professional and confidential assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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