The old railroad town of Shoshone, California is being overrun by prospectors hoping to strike it rich.
The small town, population 31, has seen long lines thanks to Powerball Lottery fever, which will see tonight’s drawing for an estimated $1.5 billion at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, hundreds of would-be multi-millionaires, mostly from Pahrump 30 miles away, waited in line at the Charles Brown General Store and Gift Shop for four-plus hours to secure their respective ‘winning’ lotto tickets for Saturday’s drawing.
Pahrump resident Loyal Watkins arrived in line at 11:30 a.m., when the payout was more than $900 million.
“Right now I probably have another two hours before I reach the counter to get a ticket,” he said. “I want to win some money and that’s why I came out here. I usually start playing the lotto when it gets to at least $200 million because anything less would ruin me. I’ve never won before, but one ticket is all it takes. I got here at 11:30 this morning and now it’s 1:30. I still have a ways to go.”
Pahrump resident Mary Neese must have arrived a few hours before Watkins, as she was more than 50 yards in front of him.
Neese said she and her husband decided to take a trip to Shoshone just to try out their luck.
“It was a nice day to take a drive from Pahrump along with the dog and just enjoy the trip and talk to people,” she said. “I normally play lotto, but especially more when it’s this big. This is our third time out here because we came out last Saturday and it was nothing like this. We were able to walk in and I got my tickets and walked out because it only took just a few minutes. I don’t pick my own numbers, I let them do it. We will spend $20 because it only takes one ticket with the right numbers.”
Nevada residents have to drive to California or Arizona because Nevada law does not allow for a lottery. Powerball is legal in 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The lottery involves drawing five white balls numbered one to 69, along with a red Powerball number between one and 26.
According to lottery experts, people have much better odds literally making an accurate ‘shot in the dark,’ as the odds of correctly selecting the winning combination of numbers stands at one in 292.2 million.
The odds of being struck by lightning this year are one in 1.19 million, making it about 246 times as likely as winning the Powerball jackpot.
Winners can choose one lump sum or have their payments doled out in annual installments.
If there’s a winner tonight, they will be able to accept a one-time payment of nearly $930 million. And that’s after taxes.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.