Texans have a shot Tuesday night at the largest lottery jackpot in state history.
The estimated prize for the Mega Millions game today was raised to $315 million, the heftiest since Texas joined the multistate game in December 2003. Previously, the biggest pot was $290 million in June 2004.
Mega Millions tickets are sold in 12 states; winning tickets have been sold in Texas twice. In October 2004, Carrollton resident Ut Van Nguyen bought a winning ticket worth $101 million. A Rowlett family claimed a $112 million jackpot in March.
Miky Sioson, 28, who works at the Texaco on Live Oak and Skillman streets, said the store was abuzz with customers buying tickets and discussing the jackpot.
One customer bought $100 worth of tickets Tuesday morning, she said.
"They are excited. It is big money," said Sioson, who bought six tickets for herself and dreams of quitting her job, buying a new home and taking long vacations.
Texas joined Mega Millions nearly two years ago to boost flagging sales and give residents a chance at bigger payoffs.
Average weekly sales of Mega Million tickets for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1, 2004, were about $3.3 million. They've jumped 53 percent in the same period in 2005 to approximately $5 million.
Texas joined the Mega Millions nearly two years ago to boost flagging sales and give residents a chance at bigger payoffs.
The $315 million pot began growing on Sept. 20 and has rolled over 16 times through twice-weekly drawings on Tuesdays and Fridays, Texas Lottery Commission spokesman Bobby Heith said.
But it's not the biggest in North American history. On May 9, 2000, the jackpot for The Big Game, now known as Mega Millions, reached $363 million.
Drawings for the original Lotto Texas game are Wednesdays and Saturdays. The largest pot was June 19, 2004, when the prize reached $145 million.
But back to Mega Millions. If no one wins Tuesday night, the jackpot could reach a record-breaking $380 million on Friday.
Unfortunately for Heath, Lottery Commission employees and their families are not allowed to play. Not that he won anything before he started working for the commission.
"You think now that you're around the winners, it's probably easier than it was when you were playing," he joked.