Siouxland hoping for Mega Millions big winner

2013-12-13T12:00:00Z 2015-01-11T22:26:20Z Siouxland hoping for Mega Millions big winnerCONRAD SWANSON Sioux City Journal
December 13, 2013 12:00 pm  • 

SIOUX CITY | Is the 21st time the charm? Siouxland residents can only hope so. After all, $400 million is up for grabs.

Friday's Mega Millions jackpot is the second largest prize ever, behind $656 million won in March 2012.

A recent change to Iowa's lottery system significantly lowered the chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot, allowing the prize to roll over more frequently and grow much faster. The current jackpot has rolled over 20 times without a winner.

Dawn Barkley, manager of Casey's General Store, 3051 Floyd Blvd., said she's seen lottery ticket sales increase for both Powerball and the Mega Millions.

Powerball jackpots started ballooning more quickly after the game increased its ticket price in January 2012 from $1 to $2, Mega Millions operators kept the price of a ticket at $1.

"They sell pretty close to equal, now,"  said Barkley. "I always wish 'em good luck. I'm hoping someone around here can win it big."

Mega Millions, which originally was played in 12 states, expanded its reach alongside Powerball after a 2010 licensing agreement. Both games are now played in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The revamp has given us a game that has a better chance of rolling and growing more quickly," said Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery's executive director and Mega Millions' lead director. "There's some things we can control, there's some things that we can't control. Of the things we can control, those changes seem to be working."

The changes decreased the odds of winning from about 1 in 176 million to roughly 1 in 259 million.

Barkley, at Casey's General Store on Floyd Boulevard, said she's one of the players targeted by the new strategy. 

Barkley said she only plays when the jackpot hits the big numbers. Now, she's contemplating purchasing a ticket for Friday's drawing.

"This could be the lucky time," she said. "I think everybody should buy one if it's that big. You never know, and you can always hope for the best."

-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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