REYNOLDSVILLE — Friday, four friends pooled their money together for a shot at the coveted Mega Millions prize.
Around 7 p.m., after enjoying a pizza dinner, the four hopefuls walked to Mike’s BiLo in Reynoldsville and purchased $100 in tickets, $25 apiece.
Although they didn’t come out as millionaires, five out of six numbers on one of the tickets matched, making the group $250,000 richer.
“The Mega Millions game is all over the country, so we were really fortunate to have one of the winners here,” Mike’s Bilo co-owner Theresa Kister said.
At $640 million, Friday’s drawing was the world’s largest-ever lottery jackpot. And all told, Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding.
The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.
Kister said the supermarket was selling tickets “like crazy” until the store closed at 9 p.m., only two hours before the drawing.
The food store was also very busy in the days before the drawing.
“It kept building and building,” she said. “It was huge. Everyone wanted to try to win the big one.”
More than 100 million people across the country got in on the action.
According to the Associated Press, even though just three tickets matched all the winning numbers for Friday’s lottery, the jackpot made a millionaire of at least three other winners and gave a windfall to more than 100 others.
Three ticket-holders won $1 million each, and 158 won $250,000 for matching the first five numbers drawn. Five winning tickets came from Pennsylvania.
The four local winners will split the $250,000 prize among them, Kister said.
A sister of one of the four is employed in the meat department at Mike’s BiLo, Kister said, which has arguably become a lucky place to buy lottery tickets in Jefferson County.
Last year, someone hit a jackpot from a Cash 5 ticket purchased at the store.
“It’s nice because we’ve been kind of lucky,” Kister said. “It’s kind of neat we had another winner.”