Lottery fever is back as jackpot rises

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FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (07/08/16) - Lottery fever is once again nearing epidemic proportions.

More than a half billion dollars is up for grabs.

While nobody locally has hit the "Big One" yet, the enticement of such a large sum is drawing customers in to play again as the jackpot continues to climb.

While large lottery jackpots bring out die-hard players, occasional ticket purchasers are coming out in force as well - many with a strategy on how to increase their odds of winning.

"Just do it, easy pick when it gets big like this. Big enough to retire. You know, I can't retire on only $10 or $20 million, got to go for big," said Ted Swank, from Swartz Creek.

"I've got three easy picks. I figure that's just about as good as anything. That's my mother's lucky number and that's mine too,” said Joe Bouza, from Flint Township.

Customers were scooping up tickets Friday at a rate of nearly 100,000 tickets an hour. Friday's Mega-Millions jackpot is now more than $540 million.

It’s life-changing money for a lucky winner, but can past luck be a indicator of future payouts?

Some come to certain convenience stores, like Randy's Food Center in Flint Township, because there have been two past winners of more than $1,000 in the past two years.

"I heard about it. That's why I drove over here. I got to get over here and see Randy," said Flint lottery player Regina Taylor.

"Did not know that. No. We have a group that I work with, we had been playing the Mega Millions each time it gets up, the jackpot gets very large,” said Andy Osentoski, from Swartz Creek.

Even with an estimated sale of five million tickets sold for Friday's drawing, experts say this jackpot amount is in the "sweet spot" as enough tickets are sold that can produce a winner without generating identical tickets that can split the pot.

"Well, I'm going to give a lot of it to charity and take care of the kids and pay off their houses," Bouza said.

As far as luck goes, with the odds at 259 million to 1, you have a much better chance of finding a four, or even five-leaf clover.

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