SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) — Lotto fever has broken out across the Chicago area, with $1 billion up for grabs in Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot.
On Wednesday morning, the Illinois Lottery offered a chance to grab free tickets.
A thousand Powerball tickets were expected to be given away to Skokie’s Kostner Korner. Kostner Korner, located at 4356 W. Howard St., is one of the top five “Most Winning” Powerball stores in the Illinois Lottery.
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“We are so excited; I can’t explain my excitement,” said Kostner Korner owner Bhupen Patel.
Wednesday’s event ran from 11am to 1pm and players were put into a Ticket Grab machine for five seconds to grab as many free Powerball tickets as possible.
A man felt lucky. He is one of countless hoping to be the next big Powerball winner.
Barbara Hendrix is in the same group.
“I come from a big family; my whole family would be taken care of, utility bills, all of that, student loans. My son is a DePaul graduate. That would be taken care of, too,” Hendrix said. ‘Why not? And for a chance to win a billion dollars, he can’t hurt>’
The Powerball jackpot draw on Wednesday night is the third largest Powerball jackpot and seventh largest lottery jackpot in US history after no one matches all five winning numbers and the winning Powerball number.
The lucky winner can opt for a cash lump sum of $516.7 million or distribute the loot annually for the next 30 years to receive the full one billion.
“It’s so exciting; it gives people hope,” said Kostner Korner store manager Susan Lynch.
Illinois lottery communications director Meghan Powers said that regardless of who picks up the big prize, Illinois is still a winner.
“Forty cents of every dollar spent on a dollar spent on a Powerball ticket goes to K across 12 education in Illinois,” Powers said.
Domestic ticket sales doubled from the same period last week.
The odds of hitting the jackpot are over one in 292 million.
You are more likely to die in a vending machine accident or give birth to identical quintuplets than to win.
“People can be killed by sharks and people die under vending machines; it could happen,” said Jonathan Gottesmann, a lottery ticket taker. “I’d love to help people. I’d definitely claim with my brothers and sisters, my kids, and I’d have to bring some nieces and nephews.”
ABC News contributed to this report.