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Lines shorter than usual for $430M Powerball jackpot at Primm store

Updated August 16, 2017 - 11:03 pm

PRIMM — Standing in a line of about 50 outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store on the Nevada-California border, 69-year-old Yvonne Colbert contemplated how she’d spend the money if she won the $430 million Powerball jackpot.

“I just think if I hit the lottery, I could take some money back to the community,” the Las Vegas woman said. “I would make sure all my friends had some money too, so they could shop with me.”

The store, located off Interstate 15, technically in California but just a stone’s throw from the “Welcome to Nevada” sign, sold tickets Wednesday afternoon to buyers hoping to beat the 1-in-292.2 million odds of matching all five winning numbers, plus the Powerball number.

Despite the nearly half-billion-dollar jackpot, the line was shorter than Fred Harris, 65, was accustomed to seeing in his 27 years as a store cashier.

“I think the longest we ever had was a six-hour wait,” Harris said, adding “there’s always somebody in line.”

As the pot grows, Harris said he serves more first-time lottery players — people such as Jennifer Guerra, a 22-year-old Las Vegan who drove to the store with her parents, sister and husband to try her hand at picking winning numbers.

She wrote down her son’s birthday first.

“If we win, awesome,” Guerra said. But, “there’s so many people doing this. Let’s just try it out.”

But the possibility of winning the jackpot — $273.4 million in cash value — also brings back regular players, such as 66-year-old Augusta Scott, a life coach in Las Vegas.

The store, 43 miles from downtown Las Vegas, is the closest place for valley residents to purchase a lottery ticket. About 30 attempts to establish a Nevada lottery since 1975 have failed because of opposition from the gaming industry.

“I live in Vegas, but I hardly drive down here,” said Scott, who last made the trip in January.

“I wish they would have it in Vegas though. It’s more convenient,” she said. “If (the state) could figure out a way to make money off of it … then I don’t see why they shouldn’t have the lotto.”

Still, she’s willing to make the drive, because if she wins, Scott said she’ll give back to the homeless and animal shelters.

No one won the jackpot Wednesday; Saturday’s jackpot is estimated at $510 million.

The last big-winning ticket sold at Primm Valley Lotto awarded a California man $191 million off a Mega Millions ticket that matched the numbers in a Jan. 27 drawing.

“Maybe today is the day,” Scott said.

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Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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