Bea Padilla had a smile on her face as she walked into Taylor Food Mart.
She had good reason.
Padilla doubled her $5 investment in an Oklahoma Lottery scratch-off ticket and was putting that $10 bill toward gasoline Friday afternoon. Had she done so a week from now, she might've put millions into her pocket instead.
Tickets for the multi-state Powerball will go on sale at more than 1,900 Oklahoma merchants at 4 a.m. Friday, and the prize could reach the $100 million mark before the first drawing for Oklahoma-purchased tickets at 9:59 p.m. (Central Standard Time) January 14.
"I'd probably buy a Powerball ticket," said Padilla, who purchases one $5 scratch-off ticket per week. "I won $87 in the Texas lottery one time when we were going through Dalhart."
Padilla wasn't the only winner Friday afternoon. Phillip Caudell of Guymon purchased a scratch-off ticket at Gas 'N' Go on North Main Street and won the chance at another. Even though the second scratch-off came up empty, Caudell plans to drop his dollar bills and the multi-state drawings, which take place Wednesdays and Saturdays.
"I don't play that often, maybe a dollar here or there," he said. "I'll probably play a little more when the Powerball gets here. It's something new."
Powerball is ringing in the new year and its newest state in grand fashion next weekend. The twice-weekly drawings typically take place in Des Moines, Iowa, but because of the newness to the Sooner State, the Jan. 14 drawing will take place at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City in conjunction with the International Finals Rodeo.
Oklahoma joins 28 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering Powerball.
"I occasionally buy one in Kansas when I'm through there," Caudell said. "Instead of spending my money in Kansas, I'll spend it here."
Thirty-five percent of the state's Powerball sales will go toward funding the multi-state jackpot, said Jim Scroggins, the lottery's executive director. The lottery plan approved by a statewide vote in November 2004 provides that 30 percent of the profits must go to education the first two years and 35 percent annually after that. The rest goes to prizes and administration.
That seems to be enough already for Alice De La Cerda of Guymon, who typically purchases four scratch-off games per week. She has played for a bigger jackpot in one of the Texas Lottery games every time she crosses the state line.
"Yes, I'll play," she said, referring to Powerball. "I want to win that money, and only once is all it takes.
"It'd be fun just to say you won something and to say I have money in my pockets now."
Tommy Tomlinson of Guymon popped into the Gas 'N' Stuff, but not to fork over cash for a scratch-off. Instead, he asked about Powerball and when it would be making its appearance at the convenience store.
"I play the Powerball when I'm in Kansas," he said. "I don't buy too many scratch-off tickets because they don't pay off too great.
"You can go broke buying those scratch-off tickets."
Preferably, he said, he'd spend his money for the chance at the bigger jackpots.
"I wouldn't buy that many, but he money I do spend will be in Powerball tickets."