The Montana Millionaire sold out in a record-breaking 29 hours, but that isn't keeping Montanans from their lottery games. The Powerball has reached $1.2 billion, and many people in Billings are making sure they get a chance at the jackpot.
The two McFiny's convenience stores in Billings have been busy places the last two days, as people like JJ Elton rushed to get their tickets for the Montana Millionaire lottery.
“I was at work, and I just stopped by and snagged a couple of tickets because people were lining out the doors,” Elton said. “I’ve seen it all week since it started. There’s been lines, hectic, craziness, everyone’s just been buying them up."
Lotto fever has taken over Billings this week, and especially at the McFiny's on 17th Street West. It has sold the winning ticket twice in the Montana Millionaire lottery since 2010, and store manager Russell Buck said it's always crazy this time of the year.
“It was crazy chaotic, but I’m glad it’s done because now I can focus back on the store," Buck said.
Other Billings residents weren't as lucky as JJ Elton, though. Donald Rome is one of those who wasn't able to purchase his Montana Millionaire ticket in time. On Wednesday, he still visited McFiny's so that he could get his gambling fix in.
“Well, we were after Montana Millionaire, but those sold out," Rome said. "So, my wife was frustrated and said, ‘Hey will you go get a Powerball ticket.'”
The Powerball drawing will take place at 8:59 p.m. Mountain time. The odds of winning are one in 292 million, but that isn't stopping folks in Billings from putting their hat in the ring.
“Well, there’s always a chance, and in today’s times, why not?" Elton said. "Everybody is looking for a little bit so if there’s a chance take it."
Buck knows that if no one wins the drawing on Wednesday, the crowd will only be more hectic next time.
"If it doesn’t win tonight, it’s only going to get worse,” Buck said with a laugh.