EAGLE COUNTY - Admit it, you really want to win the $500 million Powerball jackpot so you can call in "rich" Thursday and not show up for work."It's getting crazy," said Heather Black, spokeswoman with the Colorado Lottery. "We've seen sales go up considerably."In an average week with an average Powerball jackpot, Coloradans spent $1.5 million on lottery tickets."We're up to more than $2 million in the last two and a half days," Black said.The last jackpot this big was March 30 when Megamillions reached $656 million.Previously, the highest Powerball jackpot ever was $365 million in 2006. This historic prize is the result of 15 consecutive draws without a winner. This run started on Oct. 6 as a minimum $40 million prize.
It should surprise no one that no one won it in almost two months. Your chances of winning are 1 in 176 million."There is a limited number of number combinations, so the odds of winning never change," Black explained.Andrew Tucker, who was buying Powerball tickets in Gypsum Tuesday, did some research and found that some numbers come up more often than others. It's not clear why, they just do.He put together a spreadsheet based on the recommendations of a guy who says he has won big money five times."You'll need to do some research and look for certain frequencies," Tucker said.Tucker grinned and added that you'll have to do your own research because he's not sharing his, except to say that quick picks have the lowest probability of producing a winner.Annie Baldwin is the sales manager at Gypsum's Kum & Go. She sold $100 worth of tickets to one guy, and $20 and $30 orders to countless others.Actually they're not countless. The Gypsum Kum & Go sold more than $1,100 before Saturday's drawing, and Baldwin said they'll blow by that before Wednesday night's drawing.They'll probably have an extra clerk working just to deal with all of this, she said.Baldwin never plays the lottery, but she dropped $20 for this one."I figured I have nothing to lose," she said.Most people's dreams are pure enough.Todd Ahern picked up some Powerball tickets and said if he wins he'll pay off houses for some family members, then he'll buy some land where he and his family can be self sufficient.Austin Yanz and C.J. Romano chimed in on the Vail Daily's Facebook page that they'd move to Vail. Avon's Amy Cramer Phillips would move up the hill to Mountain Star, and Rae Jensan would drop a million dollars over the 16th Street Mall in Denver.No one said they'd buy a slightly used congressman, although one guy said he'd strut into a bar, up to a group of women and ask them, "Hello darlin'. What kind of car do you want?"
The money spent on lottery tickets in Colorado stays in Colorado for parks and other projects. That's how it's supposed to work, said Kris Friel, Eagle County's communications director. For example, the good people of Colorado invested $100,000 in lottery funds in the spray park at Freedom Park in Edwards.Last June, $4.5 million in lottery money helped buy open space along the Colorado River in Eagle County for boat launches.A lottery-funded GOCO grant helped pay for the bike path along Highway 6 between Avon and Eagle-Vail.More than $2.4 billion in lottery funds have been spent on similar projects all over the state through Great Outdoors Colorado, the Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado State Parks.