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Giselle Docouto sits in a chair as she waits in line to purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets Giselle Docouto sits in a chair as she waits in line to purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store in Primm, Calif., on Thursday.The Las Vegas Sun reports that some Las Vegans began lining up outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store at 6 a.m. on Thursday to get their $1 tickets.
Giselle Docouto sits in a chair as she waits in line to purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store in Primm, Calif., on Thursday.The Las Vegas Sun reports that some Las Vegans began lining up outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store at 6 a.m. on Thursday to get their $1 tickets.
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Published: Friday, 3/30/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Record Mega Millions jackpot has gamblers heading 40 miles south of Las Vegas to place bets

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PRIMM, Nev. — In some states, buying a chance to win the record $640 million Mega Millions jackpot means a road trip.

More than 1,200 people were lined up by 9 a.m. Friday to buy their lottery tickets at the Primm Valley Casino Resorts Lotto Store, which sits right across the California border from lottery-less Nevada.

The small store 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip is the closest option for those in Sin City who want a shot at the jackpot, and some waited in line at least three hours to buy their tickets.

"I didn't even want to come but everybody's so hyped up," said Kathy DellaSala-Shepherd, 55, who owns a pool cleaning business in Las Vegas.

Her trek for tickets took her past people trying to make a more certain profit by hawking water and soda to the people in line, or scalping tickets for $20 to people who don't want to wait.

DellaSala-Shepherd said she doesn't normally play the lottery because she prefers the odds of Keno. She said she once won a $25,000 Keno jackpot by matching nine numbers.

"Now, I feel a little lucky," she said.

Reinaldo Nunley holds his Mega Millions lottery tickets outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store at Primm, Calif., on Thursday, March 29, 2012. Nunley said he bought 56 tickets because 56 is a lucky number for him. With a half-billion-dollar multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, Nevadans are waiting up to four hours in line to get their Mega Millions tickets. Reinaldo Nunley holds his Mega Millions lottery tickets outside the Primm Valley Lotto Store at Primm, Calif., on Thursday, March 29, 2012. Nunley said he bought 56 tickets because 56 is a lucky number for him. With a half-billion-dollar multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, Nevadans are waiting up to four hours in line to get their Mega Millions tickets.
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Sam Roark, director of operations for Primm Valley Resorts, said the store, across the street from an outlet mall, expected to sell more than 200,000 tickets Friday after selling 184,000 on Thursday.

One person, a Las Vegas boxer whom he would not name, bought $20,000 worth Thursday, Roark said.

If the store sells a jackpot-winning ticket, it would be a winner, too. It would get $1 million, California lottery officials said.

At the Beaver Dam Service Station in Beaver Dam, Ariz., store clerk Lisa Lorton said people were driving in from Nevada and Utah, which is also without a state lottery. It's been crazy, she said, with lines out the door, and it's been that way for three days.

"We have lottery at the bar and lottery here, and both places are out to the parking lot," Lorton said Friday. "Some people are buying a dollar's worth. Other people are buying $300 worth."

One man said he drove 30 miles from St. George, Utah, to purchase a Mega Millions ticket Friday.

Winning "would make my day," Curt Colbert said. "It would make a lot of people's days, because I'm a pretty generous guy."

Lines were also out the door at Rosie's Den cafe in the rural northwestern Arizona community of White Hills, 72 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

Rosie's worker Christine Millim said it's been nonstop for the past four days with people who aren't afraid to plunk down big money for the jackpot. One person spent $2,600 on tickets, she said.

Dennis Martinez, a 30-year-old maintenance supervisor in Las Vegas who spent $80 on tickets in Primm, said he didn't mind the 1-in-176-million odds of winning the jackpot because they're better than zero.

"You can't win if you don't try — it's just the lottery," he said.

When asked what he would do with the money, Martinez said: "10 percent goes to God, then the rest is for fun — anything and everything I can do."

"I don't think I'll start up a business because I won't have to," he said. "Put some in the bank and sit on it. You can't go broke — interest."

___

Carlson reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Judy Lin in Sacramento, Calif., also contributed to this report.



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