ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The record setting PowerBall jackpot up for grabs this weekend is at $600 million and counting with New Mexicans doing their part to fatten up that jackpot.
"It has been hectic," said Firas Albanna, owner of the L&M Station at Albuquerque, one of the thousands of lottery retail outlets in New Mexico. "People coming in and out, buying lottery tickets. And those numbers, when they see those numbers keep jumping 20 million, 30 million, every two hours."
The New Mexico Lottery says the ticket sales reflect the rush. On Thursday, the agency sold about $373,000 worth of PowerBall tickets. On Friday, that number was more than doubled with the state selling just over $1 million in PowerBall tickets.
The jackpot is expected to rise even more before Saturday's drawing.
"There are more than 40 lotteries that play in the PowerBall game, which is why the jackpots can climb that high," said Linda Hamlin, communications manager for the New Mexico Lottery.
The prize money raises the question, what would you do?
"I think the "I'm going to call in rich on Monday to work" is the funniest line I've heard," said Hamlin
A Bernalillo resident, Richard Torres, says after putting his kids through college, he'd become a philanthropist.
"I'd probably give a lot, donate a lot to some charities. I've already got in the back of my mind like St. Judes Hospital," said Torres.
Albuquerque resident Holly Newman says she'd pay off her mortgage first and then start looking to help elsewhere.
"I think I'd put my students to work on that, see what they thought we should do with that. I think you could make sure impact on the world," said Newman.
Cathryn Yanovsky an Albuquerque medical professional, says she'd also help others with her medical knowledge.
"I work in surgery so I would be able to travel the world and do pro-bono work and pro-bono work in the United States," said Yanovsky.
(Pro bono, short for the Latin phrase pro bono publico, translates as "for the public good.")
Even though the odds of winning are about 1 in 175 million, what keeps everyone for it is that idea that $2 could change their lives.
"So a lot of people, I tell them, 'Hey, you need to try it. You never know,"' said Albanna.
New Mexico has had five PowerBall jackpot winners. The last was in 2008 when a group of nine people won $206.9 million in Roswell.
Tickets are on sale until 8 p.m. on Saturday. The drawing is at 9 p.m.
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