HURRICANE, W.Va. – With $340 million up for grabs in the second-biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, people trekked to a small-town West Virginia convenience store to buy their tickets Tuesday in the apparent belief that lightning can strike twice in the same place.
Nearly three years ago, it was the C&L Super Serve (search) in Hurricane that sold the ticket that made West Virginia contractor Jack Whittaker (search) the winner of the nation's biggest undivided jackpot: $314.9 million in the multi-state Powerball lottery.
Wednesday'sPowerball jackpot (search) climbed into the stratosphere after 20 straight drawings in which no one won the grand prize.
"It's a lot a money to win for just playing a dollar," 18-year-old construction worker Danny Loudin said after buying his ticket at the C&L.
Twenty-seven states offer Powerball, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Edward Jarvis, a 39-year-old real estate agent, drove from New York's Long Island to Greenwich, Conn., to buy $120 worth of tickets.
"That's worth an hour or two out of your day," he said. "It's cheaper than going to Atlantic City for a heck of a lot better return if you win."
What would he do if he won?
"Not work," he said, then changed it to work less. "It would be nice to be debt-free. I'd spend a lot more time with my kids and do the things I like to do — golf."
The odds of hitting all six numbers are 1 in 146 million.
The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history is $363 million, won by two ticketholders in Illinois and Michigan in 2000.