03/31/06 — Lottery - Did anyone here win big?

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Lottery - Did anyone here win big?

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 31, 2006 1:50 PM

Thousands of Wayne County residents took a chance on the new state lottery Thursday, grabbing up tickets as soon as stores began selling them.

Many came away empty-handed, but still eager to play. Some earned a quick buck or two. And a few scored big.

But mostly it was the stores themselves and the lottery that were lucky.

At the Belfast Quick Mart, store officials said they sold $1,300 worth of tickets.

"For a little store, we did good," store manager Denise Odeh said.

Ted Grantham at Grantham Supply Co. said he sold probably 800 tickets Thursday.

"It was busy all day. I arrived at 5:30 a.m. to set up, and they were already there getting ready to buy."

Most of his customers who were winning got $1 or $5.

Grantham said he's glad he put in the lottery machine.

"I hope we'll be glad six months from now, but we are right now," he said.

Mrs. Odeh said the biggest winner at the Belfast store was a man who won $160 when he scratched off his lottery card. Another earned a quick $100, she said.

"It was crazy," said Ms. Odeh, who had to restock all four packs of lottery tickets in her machine. "We had some good winners, and we had some mediocre winners."

Kenneth Gurganus at Fat Cat Pawn and Jewelry said the lottery created a lot of walk-in traffic. He said he normally opens at 8 a.m., but when he came in at 5:30 a.m., he was followed in by people already waiting to buy tickets.

"So far we're pleased with it, he said about the new addition to his pawn shop. "It's definitely an attention getter."

Most people would scratch off their tickets until they ran out of money, he said. Several people won $20, he said.

A couple came into the store and said they had a list of all the local stores selling lottery tickets. They planned to buy some tickets at each one. They said they had been traveling to Virginia and South Carolina to play the lottery.

"Why not keep the money at home," Gurganus said.

He said the lottery generated a lot of interest.

An unsubstantiated rumor had it that a Goldsboro man won $5,000.

"It was a fun day to see the excitement on people's faces. They were just excited to play."

Angela Atkinson said she's glad she put her lottery machine in the Burger King on U.S. 117. She said the convenience store sold about 1,000 tickets Thursday.

She had a few $20 winners, and she won a free ticket.

"It was busy, a steady flow," she said. "There were no lines out the door, but they kept on coming, and coming."