ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - After the Mega Millions lottery jackpot passed the half-billion-dollar mark late Thursday New Mexicans boosted their spending on lottery tickets to $627 a minute.
On Friday they kicked it way higher.
From 2-3 p.m. Friday cashed poured in at the rate of $3,374 a minute, according to the New Mexico Lottery.
And that was before what was expected to be an evening rush as people spurred by intense news coverage and dreams of unfathomable wealth got off work.
(Update: Winning Mega Millions tickets sold in three states .)
Just about everyone you know is taking about it.
The Mega Millions lottery fever is spreading like the flu but with national buzz instead of coughs and sniffles.
On Thursday night the jackpot was at $540 million but by midday Friday jumped by another $100 million.
Stores like L & M in northeast Albuquerque have been flying through tickets.
People are dropping some serious cash to get their crack at the riches.
Friday morning there was a line to the back of the store, and it's expected to be at least that busy in the evening as people get off work and head in to buy tickets.
If you are one of those people, you have until 8:45 p.m.
Store owner Firas Albanna said some of his customers have made him big promises if they win.
"Some people tell me they will give me half , 50 percent," he said. "That would be nice, but I'm not expecting that."
Albanna also said a lot of office pools have sent a buyer to his store with one group dropping $600. On a normal day he sells $300-$400 tickets all day, he added.
By the end of the day he expects sales to top $1,600.
Lottery officials recommend purchasers sign your ticket immediately after buying it.
New Mexico is one of 43 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands participating in the Mega Millions lottery.
The odds of winning are 1 in 176 million, the number of possible combinations for five numbers and a Mega number.
Nationally most lottery players pick their numbers, but in New Mexico about 75 percent let the computer randomly pick the numbers for them, according to lottery officials.
From KRQE.com: Check your lottery numbers>>
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