• 43°

Are you playing the lottery? Mega Millions and Powerball have reached over $1 billion combined

WEST POINT — With Mega Millions and Power Ball nearing all-time record jackpots, the lottery ticket business has been very good in West Point this week. Many, if not most, of the customers buying tickets in the local stores have been lured across the state line from Alabama.

Mega Millions will reach $750 million on Friday. That will be its second-largest jackpot. Power Ball is heading toward $640 million, which would be its fifth-largest on record.

It’s very difficult right now to find a parking space outside West Point Chevron and Food Mart, just off Exit 2 on I-85 on Georgia Highway 18. During the noon hour on Thursday, more than 30 vehicles were parked around the business. 

At least half of them had Alabama license plates. Most of the ticket buyers are from Chambers and Lee counties, but some are coming from as far away as Montgomery.

Exit 2 in West Point is the closest place where someone entering Georgia on I-85 can stop and buy lottery tickets.

Inside West Point Chevron, there were three lines of customers stretching from the counter back to the drink coolers in the back of the store. Some of them were buying a quick lunch, but many were purchasing lottery tickets with dreams of that big payoff.

Other businesses off Exit 2 were doing well on Thursday. Located up the hill from West Point Chevron, the Summit store was a crowded place as well. On the opposite side of the Interstate near the junction of Kia Parkway, the USA Food Mart and Hot Spot Liquor were staying busy selling lottery tickets.

The Food Mart had a large table set up with eight chairs where people could fill out their tickets.

When the jackpots are big and lots of tickets are being sold, local convenience stores are enterprising enough to be extra courteous to their lottery customers. Located across the street from West Point City Hall, Sunlit BP is one of the more welcoming places for those who want to play. There are front and back entrances,  a bank of machines where people can play video and an area where they can have lunch or dinner while filling out their tickets.

A clerk in the Circle K store on East 10th Street told The Valley Times-News that the sale of lottery tickets was good business for the store, especially between 8 and 10 p.m. when lots of people are home from work.

Located just across the state line on Highway 29, the West Point Kwik Stop is a favorite place for some who play the lottery. There are tables and chairs where people can fill out their tickets while munching on their choice of Crusty Italian pizza or Krispy Krunch chicken. 

“Business is very good right now,” said Chris, who was working the counter during the noon hour on Thursday. “People are buying lots of lottery tickets right now.”

Just across the street from the Kwik Stop, Y&T Food Mart is a busy place. Mr. Nehu, who was behind the counter, said that he was pleased with the activity.

It’s no secret that a big part of the customer base for all these stores are people coming over from Alabama. That’s okay with the owners and store clerks. 

“We don’t care what state they are from,” said one of the convenience store clerks, “if they are good customers, we are glad to have them.”