Mega Millions mania good for local businesses

Mega Millions mania good for local businesses

POSTED: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 31, 2012 - 8:39pm

It’s Mega Millions Mania. People all over Baton Rouge and across the country are trying to become instant mega millionaires. The jackpot for the lottery increased again Friday. It stands at $640 million!

It’s not just folks looking to get rick quick who are excited about this lottery. The store that sells the winning ticket could also walk away a winner.

“That’s a lot of money,” Minnie Duhe says of the jackpot that broke the world record for the highest payoff in U.S. history.

She’s the store manager at the Cracker Barrel gas station on Government Street. Duhe says she spent the morning trying to keep up with the rush of people looking for a fast fortune.

“Five o’clock this morning, they was in here buying tickets and on their way to work,” she says.

With so much green up for grabs, folks are spending big time. “They wasn’t just buying a dollar. They was buying 10, 20, 30, even 50 dollars!” Duhe says

She said before 9:30 Friday morning, she saw about 300 people walk through the convenience store doors. “This is the biggest rush we’ve had in years!”

That’s great news for the company. “If they get the winning ticket from here, the store, this location would get a percentage of the winning and that would be awesome,” Duhe exclaims. “Everybody who comes in and gets a ticket says ‘hey! I won’t forget you!’ so I’m excited about that.”

According to the Lousiana Lottery, the store that hands out the winner gets 1% of all the money Louisianians spent on tickets. “I’m just gonna be on edge,” Duhe says. “I’m just gonna be so excited that I think someone from this location has the winning ticket. Hope it’s me, but if it’s not, just anyone that came from here would be good!”

As for the Cracker Barrel on Government Street, Duhe says she’s got a special feeling about it. “I think this is a lucky store.”

When there are millions of dollars on the table, Louisiana benefits. While the state doesn’t get a cut of the cash, it does get some of the money spent while people try to win.

Every month, the Louisiana Lottery gives the state 35% of the money spent on lottery tickets. That goes towards K-12 public education.

During the second quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, the lottery handed over $36.4 million.

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