Cobos Supermarket Assistant Manager Elizabeth Torres would like to attribute the slow Powerball-buying traffic in her Sunland Park store to the holidays, but she knows that across the state line a larger reason loomed.
"It's the Mega Millions. Their jackpot is pretty big, and people aren't coming from Texas as much," she said. "We haven't seen the number of people that we normally see when the Powerball gets to this size."
Tonight's Powerball jackpot, for which tickets are sold in New Mexico, is estimated at $210 million. But because Tuesday's drawing for Mega Millions, which has been available in Texas for about a month, was estimated at $155 million, El Pasoans didn't have to drive far for a chance to win big.
"Before Mega Millions, we used to get people from all the way in Ysleta and Socorro," Torres said. "There's still people buying, but we're not getting the long lines like we used to."
New Mexico Lottery officials said Powerball ticket purchases in Doña Ana County were strong, but they were still hoping for a Mega Millions winner Tuesday.
"If someone hits it and the jackpot goes back down, we'll still have $210 million on Wednesday that people can play for," said Lance Ross, the lottery's communication manager.
Andy Rodriguez drove from his West Side job over to the Howdy's in Santa Teresa to buy Powerball tickets for himself and his co-workers. He's also played the Mega Millions.
"I don't think there are too many people that can say they've got a chance at two large wads of money," he said. "I like having both games available to us. It's very exciting."