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Chance to win $430M sparks Manatee Powerball surge

What would you do with a $430 million jackpot?

Powerball has rolled over 14 times and Wednesday's estimated jackpot is $430 million, which is sparking brisk ticket sales in Manatee County.
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Powerball has rolled over 14 times and Wednesday's estimated jackpot is $430 million, which is sparking brisk ticket sales in Manatee County.

A surge in ticket sales hit Manatee County on Tuesday ahead of one of largest lottery jackpots in recent history.

Manatee has taken notice that Powerball, a popular American lottery game that includes Florida and 43 other states, has rolled over 18 times since June 14 and stands at an estimated $430 million for Wednesday’s drawing at 10:59 p.m.

Wednesday’s drawing is one of the largest Powerball jackpots since the record-setting $1.58 billion jackpot was shared by winners in Florida and two other states in January 2016, according to the Florida Lottery.

I have plans. I would love to have money so I could do something for the autism community. I have an autistic son and in this area there is hardly any services and the state in general hardly has any services and I would love to do major work for people who are autistic and people in general who have special needs.

Bradenton’s Elizabeth Polanco, on what she would do with the Powerball jackpot

Powerball ticket sale activity was increasing at local lottery retailers on Tuesday if action at Wawa at 701 First St. E., and Market on Main Street, 312 12th St. W., was an accurate indication.

“We always see an uptick the day before and the day of the drawing,” said Ken Holmes, a clerk at Market on Main Street.

Although Wawa did not wish to grant a full interview on Powerball activity, a Wawa employee said it was “exciting” that the Powerball had reached its current level.

Should a Manatee County ticket buyer correctly match the five balls selected Wednesday night from a pool of one through 69 and correctly pick the Powerball number from one through 16, they would be the 13th Powerball jackpot winner from Florida, said Florida Lottery secretary Jim Poppell.

A lucky Manatee winner could accept the prize in 30 annual installments or as a one-time, lump-sum cash payment estimated at $273.4 million, he added.

A ‘dream big’ jackpot

What a jackpot of this size means, says Bradenton’s Elizabeth Polanco, who was at Wawa Tuesday along with others with Powerball ambitions, is that people can dream extremely big.

“I have plans,” said Polanco, whose husband is Bradenton internist Jose Polanco, M.D. “I would love to have money so I could do something for the autism community. I have an autistic son, and in this area there is hardly any services and the state in general hardly has any services, and I would love to do major work for people who are autistic and people in general who have special needs.”

Polanco, who would opt for the lump-sum payment, said she will spend $20 on Wednesday’s Powerball drawing and use several lucky numbers in combinations.

“Definitely a seven and 13, believe it or not, and I usually use my kids dates of birth and special dates and I pick those and let the machine pick some,” Polanco said.

Andrew Smith, who was also at Wawa Tuesday, said if he wins he would help out his mom, make sure loved ones have a college fund and donate to a decent charity for veterans.

“The government doesn’t do anything for veterans,” Smith added.

Smith’s girlfriend, Glarissa Moon, said she would also help her mom, family members and give a big chunk to charity.

Jackpot fever is growing

Over the past 48 hours, a steady stream of Powerball ticket buyers were trying to become Market on Main Street’s first winner of a jackpot other than on scratch-offs, Holmes said.

“We haven’t sold a winning ticket from the machine, but we have had lots of success with scratch-off tickets,” Holmes added. “We’ve had lots of $1,000 winners, several $5,000 winners and a $40,000 winner last winter.”

Ty Harris, owner of Tytan Comics located next door to Market on Main Street, said he is glad to see the surge in tickets because lottery games contribute to Florida’s education system.

“I don’t do a lot of lottery stuff, but good luck to those who do,” Harris said. “I have a 9-year-old daughter, and it pays for schools.”

Harris said if he should be gifted with a Powerball ticket and win the jackpot on Wednesday, he would do “the adult stuff,” including buying a house and paying bills. He’s convinced he would keep the life he has now.

“Tytan Comics would still be open,” Harris said. “We would just be a really big comic shop.”

Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072, @RichardDymond

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