Mega Millions Sales Steady
Tuesday's jackpot is $252 million.
Business was swift for Mega Millions lottery tickets around Millburn-Short Hills Tuesday, but the owners of Health Food Mart said sales are about normal.
Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot is $252 million, and there hasn't been a grand prize winner in seven weeks in the game, that spans several states. It's the largest jackpot since February 2008 when it reached $275 million.
At Dave's Liquors in downtown Millburn, there was a short line of people buying the tickets on Tuesday afternoon.
In Short Hills, there was no line at Health Food Mart, but there was a steady stream of people looking to buy tickets. Alan Tanenbaum, co-owner, said sales have been about normal, but what they see are people adding money or people coming in with pooled cash.
"We see a lot of work pools," he said. "There are people who come in with $50 or $100."
Some have never played before too, including one customer who bought a Mega Millions ticket for the first time at the store Wednesday afternoon.
Health Food Mart, though, has come close to selling a Mega Millions winner in the last few weeks. Tanenbaum said two Fridays ago he sold a ticket to a woman he hadn't seen in four or five years. The next day, she came in to the store and told him she had hit every number except the Mega Ball, which earned her $250,000. She was part of a pool of about five people.
The health specialty store in the shopping plaza next to Kings Super Market, which has been open for 37 years, first started selling lottery tickets in the 1980s as a way to draw more business, Tanenbaum said. In 1986, two years after they started selling tickets, the winning $2.7 million Pick 6 ticket was sold at the store.
The store also has a number of regular players, many of whom will leave standing orders. Many have left cards filled out, and Tanenbaum displayed a stack from behind the register. "They leave us instructions to call them if they've won big," he said.