Powerball fever reaches Tampa Bay

Saturday night deadline to buy tickets quickly approaching

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – People across the Tampa Bay area are being sucked in by Powerball fever. At the 7Eleven store at Linebaugh Avenue and Countryway Boulevard in Westchase, tickets are selling as fast as they can be printed.

Harveer Randhawa owns that store and the one at Countryway and Racetrack and says both stores have experienced a surge in sales.  “I thought one store would feel the impact of this Westchase area and the other store might not be burdened by it, but I’ve been at both stores today and they’re equally insane,” Randhawa said.

The Powerball jackpot prize hit $800 million on Thursday, the largest jackpot in US history. People who’ve never entertained playing are now coming out of the woodwork.

Katarina Meyres already has plans if she wins.

“You know, I could use that money to pay off my college loans,”  Meyres said. “And you know, have fun with it I guess…”

Aaron Duffy is another player new to the Powerball craze.  “I usually play scratch-offs, but this guy at the counter told me it was at $800 million so, I figured, why not?”  Duffy said. “Gotta try, gotta try. ”

Randhawa believes there may be people lining up to buy tickets as the deadline of 10 p.m. on Saturday quickly approaches.  She’s hopeful someone will win this time, so she and her employees can get a break.

“I am praying somebody wins tomorrow because I don’t think we could handle it if it rolls over again,” Randhawa added.

Dozens of people rushed into the Rainbow Food Market after work Friday to buy Powerball tickets.

“Well it would be a blessing, wouldn’t it, for whoever bought it,” Emily Schrader said. Schrader bought two tickets. She said she’s taking a chance and dreaming about waking up a millionaire.

Schrader said she’d probably give the money to her children and grandchildren if she won.

Her strategy even centered on using the ages of her kids and grandkids.

Ryland Tecson bought one quick pick. “I think $800 million will help me get out of my job and the rest of my family. We all want to stop working,” Tecson said.

But he’s just playing for luck. “I’m a little suspicious since everything is computerized, so I think they know what numbers are not picked,” Tecson said.

Owner Mike Nabi said they’ll be busy until the numbers are pulled. “I bet you this weekend is going to be very, very, very crazy,” Nabi said.

He believes someone could have bought the winning ticket here.

 

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