Illinois' Mega Millions is up to 363,000,000 people are turning out in droves to buy lotto tickets. But now for the first time ever online sales are helping to drive that jackpot even higher.
Any time the Illinois lottery climbs above a hundred million Sheila Schutte says ticket sales inside the Yankee Doodle start taking off. On days like today sales are brisk as expected but not like they used to be.
"I had 'em lined out the door but now that there's so many different venders as you said it's steady," says Sheila Schutte an attendant at the Yankee Doodle.
Over the years more and more vendors have popped up around the Yankee Doodle, and over the years lotto sales have tapered off. And things could get even worse now that Illinois has become the first state in the country to allow lottery tickets to be sold online. A study conducted by the Illinois lottery found that on days like this when the lottery is over 100 million dollars selling tickets online could bring in an additional 600,000 to 1,000,000 players. The convenience of buying online comes at a cost though. You'll have to enter a credit card, and your social security number help verify your date of birth, you'll also have give out your name and address if you want to buy a ticket. Plus the sale must take place on a computer located inside the state of Illinois.
"It also is absolutely nerve-wracking when you think about an absolutely new system and then having the kind of demand you would have associated with such a large grand prize," says Michael Jones of the Illinois Lottery.
But what lotto officials expect to drive sales higher than ever is exactly what Schutte and the folks at the Yankee Doodle say will keep their customers coming back.
"I told 'em about it and they says we ain't going to do that because they gotta give your social security number you gotta give your bank account number and all that stuff," says Schutte.
According the Illinois lottery only 1 out of 10 people currently play the lottery - they hope to see that number grow as word spreads about online lotto sales.