Powerball Customers Flood "Lucky" San Lorenzo Lotto Retailer

Powerball jackpots start at $40 million, and the odds of winning are 1 in 175 million -- making it a longer shot than being struck by lightning or making a hole in one

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lottery lovers bought Powerball tickets on Monday at Kavanagh Liquors in San Lorenzo, which has produced many Lottery winners in the past. California became the 43rd state to join the Powerball lottery on Monday. Christie Smith reports. (Published Monday, Apr 8, 2013)

    Customers lined up early - some even camping out overnight - at Kavanagh Liquors in San Lorenzo, deemed the No. 1 "lucky" retailer by the California Lottery because the store has sold five previous lottery millionaires.

    A man who only wanted to be identified as "Tony," said he camped out overnight just to be the first one to buy a Powerball ticket at the store.

    "It's just fun," he told NBC Bay Area on Monday morning. "I just wanted to be able to say, win or lose, I bought the first Powerball ticket at Kavanagh."

    Kavanagh owner David Spahn opened early to accommodate his customers.

    Why all the fuss?

    California became the 43rd state to join the Powerball lottery on Monday, giving participants a shot at a jackpot that starts at $40 million.

    Heralded on the California lottery web site as "a day when everything changes," California enters the Powerball drawing after the state's lottery commission voted to join the game in November. Wednesday will be the first drawing that includes California ticket-buyers.

    Tickets for the multi-state Powerball game cost $2. Drawings occur every Wednesday and Saturday at 7:59 p.m. PT for the jackpots, which start at $40 million.

    The jackpot for Wednesday's drawing is estimated at $60 million. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175 million.

    For comparison, the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 134,00, according to the National Safety Council. It's also more likely you'll be attacked by a shark (1 in 11.5 million) or make a hole in one on a par three hole (1 in 12,500).

    "It's a good thing," said Powerball hopeful Alma Parks. "It gives people something else to look forward to."

    Powerball began in 1988, then known as LottoAmerica. The Powerball name was adopted in 1992 and in 2012 the game set a United State record for the largest lottery prize for one winning ticket --$337 million.

    Two winners shared the game's largest jackpot of $587 million in November 2012.

    Money from sales of tickets for Powerball, SuperLOTTO Plus and MEGA Millions supplement public education budgets in California.