MASON CITY — The Iowa Lottery’s Powerball jackpot will hit a record of at least $425 million this week — and North Iowans know you can’t win if you don’t play.
And they’re playing.
Convenience stores throughout the area are reporting an uptick in Powerball sales.
Laura Hain, a clerk at HyVee Gas, 551 S. Illinois Ave. in Mason City, said she’s had a steady stream of Powerball customers.
“Pretty much every one coming in has been buying one,” she said.
Jeff Miller, sales associate at Kum & Go, 1303 Fourth St. N.W., said his store is also getting a lot of Powerball traffic.
“Usually, when it gets over $100 million, sales pick up. Now they’ve really picked up,” he said.
Angel Williams, a clerk at Sid’s Gas & Groceries in Forest City, laughed and said, “Oh, definitely, sales have gone up. Even the regulars who buy them every week are buying more now.”
Matt Martin, cashier at Stop-N-Shop in Rockwell, said, “There’s been a little bit of an increase, not too much, ever since it hit $300 million.
“We have our regulars here who buy them but a lot of our custmers buy them in Mason City,” he said.
Grayson Pangburn, a clerk at North Star Xpress in Northwood, said he, too, has seen more Powerball sales.
“There’s been an increase — I can’t say by how much — but it’s definitely increased,” he said.
Mary Neubauer, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman, said nobody won Saturday’s prize of $325 million, the fourth-largest jackpot in the game’s history.
She estimated the jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing to be about $425 million, a record, and could be even higher because of customer interest.
The previous top prize was $365 million won in 2006 by ConAgra Foods workers in Lincoln, Neb.
Powerball numbers for Saturday were 22-32-37-44-50, and the Powerball was 34.