Mar 29, 2012 5:47 PM by Andy Koen

One ticket could make you richer than Will Smith and Leo DiCaprio

With a jackpot of over a half billion dollars and growing, ticket sales for the $540 million Mega Million lottery drawing are spiking. The lump sum cash equivalent would instantly establish a lucky ticket holder with a greater net worth than actors Will Smith ($188 million) and Leonardo DiCaprio ($200 million) combined.

That kind of cash is bound to bring out excitement. Stephanie Barnhart, the assistant manager at the Acorn Gas Station at 8th Street and Cimarron Street says Mega Millions ticket sales are selling today at a rate 29 times greater than they were a month ago. She expects the line to get even longer ahead of the big drawing tomorrow.

"There's going to be a lot of people rushing in to get that last minute ticket," Barnhart said.

The grand prize had been an even $500 million on Wednesday after Tuesday's drawing failed to produce a jackpot winner. It then grew by another $40 million this morning as a result of the increase in ticket sales overnight.

"That happens when they get a lot of buyers buying the tickets all over," Barnhart said.

She says most of her customers are buying one or two tickets at a time, and some in 5's or 10's. The attendant at the 7-11 on North Nevada and Cache La Poudre said one customer bought $240 in tickets at once.

Heather Black of the Colorado Lottery says the good news of Mega Millions Fever is that the money generated from tickets sales in Colorado will stay in Colorado. In 2011, the state received $8 million in funds for Great Outdoors Colorado, State Parks and the Conservation Trust Fund.


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