$1.2B Powerball draws massive crowds to buy lotto tickets across Hudson Valley
Optimistic Powerball players from around the Hudson Valley made a pilgrimage Wednesday to line up for lottery tickets at a certain store that has developed a reputation for winning.
Smokes 4 Less on North Plank Road in Newburgh has been on a hot streak.
In the last year, the store has sold six lotto tickets worth at least a $1 million each, including a winning ticket worth $2 million sold ahead of Monday's drawing.
Wednesday's Powerball jackpot has risen to $1.2 billion, the fourth largest ever.
Smokes 4 Less, in operation less than two years, has not sold a grand prize winning ticket. Not yet anyways.
"Oh, this place is hot, ever since it opened up," Smokes 4 Less regular "Spud" McKenzie said Wednesday while waiting in line.
Hundreds had already come through the store by lunchtime, thinking it might finally be due to win Wednesday's drawing.
"Spud," a regular lotto player who has "hit" before, had about 100 previously bought tickets in his hand, ready to cash in for small winnings from over the past few weeks.
After cashing in, he bought Powerball tickets, joking that he buys so many lotto tickets he usually does not know right away if he wins anything.
"I might be one of those who don't rush," he said. "[They'd say] 'We have a winner, and we don't know who it is.' -- That'd be me."
The new flock of customers -- believing the store now has a magical winning quality -- are not just playing Powerball.
"I usually get six Power, six Mega, six Cash4Life and another $2 lotto," Bobby Napolitano said of his new lucky spot. "I used to go across the river every once in a while because they were pretty hot, but now we're here."
So is Smokes 4 Less truly a unique spot that, for some reason, is especially lucky?
You are correct.
A New York Lottery spokesperson said Wednesday that many lotto players tend to be superstitious and follow trends.
That inclination may lead many people to one store believed to be "hot," increasing the store's ticket sales and increasing the store's chances of selling the next big winning ticket.