As Mega Millions madness infects Long Islanders, local businesses say they've been swarmed by people hoping to hit the record high $540 million jackpot.
Business owners across the Town of Smithtown were doing brisk business Thursday as residents streamed in looking to buy New York Mega Millions lotto tickets by the handful.
"That's a number that no one can even relate to. It's incredible," said Rock Massa, from behind the counter of in Commack. "We have never see this before, not in 10 years."
At off Indian Head Road, owner Jessica Brezina has set up a small table and chairs outside her store where customers can sit down and fill out their Mega Millions tickets. Brenzina said she's seen her sales triple, make that quadruple within the last week as people scramble to buy lottery tickets.
"[I] just had somebody come in for 70 tickets for a business pool," Brezina said, noting the average customer purchased five tickets. "Yesterday, we sold about an added 60 percent upon our base of what we would normally sell for tickets."
Other area lotto retailers reported similar group purchasing trends.
"A lot of my business is being generated by the offices, as we have people coming in with envelopes asking for $100, $200 in tickets," said John Bonner, owner of Card Fanatics in Hauppauge.
The high tickets sales can mean a windfall for local store and shop owners, who don't need the lucky ticket to hit the jacketpot.
"I would say I will be doing almost a week's worth of sales in one day. It's about five times my normal business in a week due to Mega Millions," Bonner said.
However, Commack resident Lisa Rose, saw no reason to stock up on lottery tickets.
"I always buy tickets. I have been buying all week," Rose said, as she purchased one Thursday afternoon. "I bought one. All it takes is one."
According to a recent study out of Bloomburg, state-run lotteries "have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling" in America, reported AOL. Residents are more likely to get struck by lightning, odds 1 in 10,000, or die of a flesh-eating bacteria, odds 1 in 1 million, than winning the $540 million jackpot – odds of 1 in 175,711,536, according to New York Lottery's website.
But Massa said he's noticed more customers are taking the time to select their own numbers. He believed it might be due to the fact that last time the Mega Millions were so high, the winning numbers were closely spaced together.
"I would say that about 80 percent are playing quick pick, 20 percent are picking their own numbers," Massa said. "That's a lot."
And if it's anyone's guess, the number of customers lining up to buy Mega Millions tickets will only get longer as the drawing approaches.
"If you come in here tomorrow at this time, it will be crazy," Bonner said Thursday afternoon. "Everyone always comes in at the last minute."
He predicted the jackpot may creep up as high as $600 million. New York Lottery reported it starting at $476 million and increasing to $500 million Wednesday. Then it reached $540 by mid-day Thursday.
Massa made the same guess. He estimated a whopping $600 million jackpot.
"Who is to say? It's already crazy today, can you even imagine that tomorrow will be like?"