Power playing

Pennsylvania’s Powerball lottery jackpot has reached $425 million – a sum large enough to turn the heads of many and make those who don’t regularly gamble consider buying a ticket.

Spencer Congdon, of Cady’s News Stand on West Fourth Street in the city, said more people than usual have been coming in to purchase Powerball tickets. However, the lines were not as long as they have been in past years.

“It’s not like in the old days where you’d get a line to the back door,” Congdon said.

“There’s so many businesses that sell lottery tickets these days, people can buy them all over town,” he added.

John Williams, of Williamsport, admitted that he only bothers to buy a ticket when the jackpot gets pretty high.

“I’m definitely going to grab a ticket tonight, because the jackpot is so high,” Williams said.

And what would he do if he won the grand prize?

“The first thing I’d do is start over; just disappear for a while. But I’d also try to take care of my family and loved ones,” he added.

Another local, Bill Lewis, also has been tempted into purchasing a Powerball ticket.

“I usually play the scratch-offs, because I like the instant gratification,” Lewis said.

“But, if the jackpot gets up high or I find a few spare dollars in my pocket, I’ll buy a few Powerball tickets now and then,” he added.

Every Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million.

Bob Sherwood, who works at the Genetti Hotel on West Fourth Street, said he was going to stop and buy a ticket on his way home Wednesday evening.

“I don’t usually play. I like to wait until it gets to be about $200 million or higher,” Sherwood said.

“But it’s exciting to think about what a person could do with all of that cash,” he added.

Kenney English, of Williamsport, said he was going to purchase two tickets – one with random numbers, called a Quick Pick, and one with numbers he chose himself.

“You never know what might happen. I don’t play the lottery often, but I still believe anything is possible. You might pick the numbers that set you up for life – you just never know,” English said.

If he wins the money, English’s first plans are to take his 4-year-old son on a vacation for some quality family time.

“I’d take my son and we’d just disappear for a month or so to do some traveling, just me and him. You have to look out for those you love the most,” English said.

English also spoke of trying to invest the money to see long-term return.

“My biggest fear, if I did win, would be wasting the opportunity,” English said. “I wouldn’t want to win and then look back a year from now and be broke.”

Russell Poole, of Williamsport, said he refuses to play the lottery because he feels it is an unwise way to spend money.

“I feel that the lottery is a tax on the poor dreamers,” Poole said.

Poole said the odds are stacked against an individual seeing a payoff from their ticket purchases.

“Any gambling can bring false hope. I believe there are better places to invest my money,” he added.