There are six US states which do not offer Powerball but residents can still get involved by travelling to places where the game is played. Nevada’s William Burke, for example, drove to Nipton in California on Monday before queueing for three hours. “I thought maybe I’d be part of history,” he said to the Associated Press.
Towns and cities close to state borders have reported some of the highest ticket sales, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association which runs Powerball. The Texas Lottery’s executive director, Gary Grief, is interested to see whether some of the states which do not take part have a rethink as a result of this week’s record draw. He said: “What that means for policymakers, that’s their business. I’m sure they’re watching those dollars flow out of their state.”
Alabama is one state which has debated having a lottery for years, partly because of players going to other states, and Republican state senator Jim McClendon has admitted the mammoth Powerball jackpot represents ‘fortuitous timing’ ahead of the upcoming legislative session.
It is not just residents of the USA who have been entering this week’s Powerball, as people are flocking to the game from everywhere on the planet. For Canadians, one option has been to nip over the border to pick up tickets from retailers in neighbouring US states. Tom Tracey, of Nice n’ Easy Gas in Ogdensburg, New York, revealed to CBC News: “They’re just dropping it left and right. Could be $500, could be $1,000. They are just coming in and dropping that kind of money.” Lee Johnson, who works at a North Dakota gas station, joked that ‘about half of Canada’ had driven down to buy tickets.
Players from other countries in the world have been able to take part thanks to lottery concierge services, where locally-based agents in the USA pick up tickets and send back scanned copies as proof of purchase. Even the rich and famous of Hollywood have been playing, with actor Michael B. Jordan revealing at the London premiere of Creed that he did not want to miss out. He told the BBC: “I had people (back home) pick up the ticket and I’m putting in a split for all my crew, so we’re good.”
Co-star Sylvester Stallone added: “What if I won? Do you think people would be happy if I won? I better get back to America to play.” If Stallone does decide to play, he could use a lottery concierge service to enter the game from London or fly back to join the queues forming at authorised retailers, as anticipation continues to build over whether the Powerball jackpot will be finally be won.