Oscar Strother, left, of Detroit picks his Powerball numbers Thursday for a ticket purchased from Derick Hana at Devonshire Drugs and Groceries in Detroit. The Powerball jackpot is expected to reach at least $320 million for the drawing on Saturday. (Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)
Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
Put on your best Clint Eastwood scowl and buy a ticket for the Powerball lottery, whose jackpot is expected to reach at least a staggering $320 million (with a cash payout of $198.3 million) Saturday.
"That's a lot of money, but it's not the biggest Powerball winner we've had in Michigan," said Andi Brancato, lottery public relations director. "In 2012, a man from Lapeer won $337 million."
No one won the Powerball drawing Wednesday night, which means the jackpot rolls over. The estimated pot is the sixth highest in history, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said.
Brancato said ticket sales for the Powerball — which involves 42 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the American Virgin Islands — really take off once the jackpot hits the $300 million range.
"When we get to that stage, we see activity from people who aren't regular lottery players," Brancato said. "This is when the sales grow exponentially, which continues to fuel the jackpot."
But one store owner said he sees an uptick in sales as soon as the jackpot hits $200 million.
"Every time the jackpot is that high, you see more traffic," said Raymond Gulla, owner of Telegraph Liquor Store in Taylor. "Sales are up about 25 percent."
Andy Iqbal, owner of Walter's Smoke and Convenience Shop in downtown Detroit, said he sold a dozen Powerball tickets early Thursday and during the lunch hour.
"They're already starting to get tickets (for Saturday's drawing)," he said. "You see a lot more lottery clubs. There are better chances of winning."
Not all local businesses are experiencing higher lottery sales.
"Ninety percent of our customers are students," said Karim Matti, owner of Marcus Market near Wayne State University's midtown Detroit campus. "They don't like to play the numbers too much."
The largest Powerball jackpot ever was won in November by two players — one in Missouri and one in Arizona — who split $587.3 million. The largest Mega Millions jackpot of $656 million was won in March 2012 by three people in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.
Detroit News Staff Writer Candice Williams and the Associated Press contributed.