Long lines filled convenience stores across Tulsa and most of the country Friday as millions put a dollar on the line in hopes of winning the Mega Millions Lottery's record-breaking $640 million jackpot.
Hopeful lottery players dreamed about what they could do with so much money.
A new house, a new car, new fishing equipment, new boots, a second honeymoon, even a jet were among the things Tulsans said they would buy first.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have some sort of lottery. And with Friday's lottery mania, it seemed that getting rich quick might have become the new "American Dream." But Tulsans seemed to think they would be able to stay grounded.
"We're going to keep working," one woman said about her co-workers with whom she had gone into a lottery pool. "That was my arrangement with them. You have to come in on Monday."
"Yeah, I would definitely keep working," another man said. "I would go to work with attitude."
Most people also had an idea of who they would like to help with their new-found wealth.
"I'm wanting to give back to Restore Hope, because they helped me and my husband," one woman said.
"I'd probably set up a foundation I guess, and just start giving it away," another man said. "Because there's no way I could spend all that money. I don't need it."
"Give my tenth back to the church. And then after, it's on."
And while most realize they probably won't win, they still thought it was worth a try.
"The odds are small, but you never know," one woman said. "What's a dollar? I'll do it."
Celina White with Scientific Games, the company that operates Oklahoma's lottery business, said Mega Millions tickets were flying out of convenience stores faster than she'd ever seen.
"I've been going around today to all the QuikTrips, because they're running out of them right and left everywhere," White said. "It's crazy!"
"Everybody's talking about it, and my chance is just as good as everybody else's to win," another lottery player said.
That chance of winning is roughly one in 176-million. That means you're 50 times more likely to get struck by lightning than win the jackpot.
But plenty of people thought it was still worth spending a dollar for that remote chance of winning millions.
"You've got to keep hope alive," one lottery player said. "You never know. What if?"
The Oklahoma Lottery Advertising Manager answered Ian Silver's questions about the lottery.
How many Mega Millions tickets have been sold in Oklahoma *since* the last drawing: As of noon today (Friday), we have sold over 600,000 tickets here in Oklahoma. This is based on the average ticket transaction being just under $5. However, this number is constantly changing as players have until 8:59p tonight to keep playing.
How many Oklahomans have won money in the Mega Millions, and on average how much did they win? We do not have this information readily available and it would take us some time to fulfill this request.
What Oklahoma city/town has had the most lottery winners (in general, not just Mega Millions)? We do not have this information readily available and it would take us some time to fulfill this request.
How much does Oklahoma get from the Mega Millions? How much will the state get if somebody here wins the jackpot? How much does the state get from each ticket sold? Of every dollar the Oklahoma Lottery makes from any of its games, including Mega Millions, 35% of that dollar benefits Oklahoma education. If the jackpot winning ticket is sold in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Lottery is required to withhold approximately 29% in taxes; 25% is federal tax and 4% is state tax.; therefore, the state would receive additional funding from the taxes on the prize.
Where does the lottery money go in Oklahoma? Net proceeds of all Lottery games are used to support improvements and enhancements for Oklahoma education. More than $455 million has been contributed to Oklahoma education since November 2005.
When somebody in Oklahoma wins money from the Powerball or Mega Millions, how much does Oklahoma take in taxes (beyond the federal tax)? If the jackpot winning ticket is sold in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Lottery is required to withhold approximately 29% in taxes; 25% is federal tax and 4% is state tax.
When jackpots for the national lotteries (Powerball, Mega Millions) get really big like this, does it have a negative impact on Oklahoma's state lottery games? If so, how much? Actually, we see a positive impact overall on our games. When the jackpot is large like this, the people who do not normally play lottery or who are light players will make purchases including trial of other lottery products.
How much better are your odds of winning a state lottery game vs one of the national lottery games like Mega Millions? This comparison is like comparing apples and oranges. We do not have a state game that will ever have a jackpot amount close to the amounts associated with Powerball and Mega Millions; the Oklahoma Cash 5 top prize is $25,000 taxes paid compared to a Mega Millions prize of $640 million. However, the odds of winning Mega Millions is one in 175,711,536 and the odds of winning Oklahoma Cash 5 is one in 376,992.
With all the excitement associated with Mega Millions right now, the Oklahoma Lottery encourages everyone to please play responsibly.