FARRAGUT (WATE) - The Mega Millions jackpot is creating a lot of buzz all over the country. Increased ticket sales have pushed it up to $540 million, a U.S. record.
The interest brought Tennessee Lottery officials to Farragut Market Thursday morning along with customers. The store has a track record of successful lottery ticket sales. A few months ago, it sold the highest winning Mega Million ticket in Tennessee history, $250,000.
"I am excited about it, and I usually don't play the Mega Millions. My wife called and said, you've got to go to this market. They win a lot here," Sylias Watkins said.
Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove says the state has taken in more than $10 million in sales since the jackpot began in January.
"With a jackpot this large, you get even more students who have the opportunity to take advantage of the HOPE Scholarship and the 14 programs that we fund," Hargrove said.
Recently, some Republican state lawmakers have made unsuccessful attempts to change the lottery scholarship program to save money.
Hargrove says a year of record sales should keep the program intact. "We got about $350 million in reserves and $300 million this year, which should cover the funding costs of all the HOPE Scholarships."
While the odds of those buying tickets Thursday are slim, there's always hope.
When asked what he'll do with the money if he wins, Watkins said, "Just relax. I don't know. Have fun. Take care of my kids and family. Just have fun."
The big drawing takes place Friday night at 10:59 EDT.
The lottery corporation says draw day will be the busiest ticket buying day for more than 4,800 retailers across the state.
They recommend that when you buy a ticket, you sign the back of it. If you happen to lose the ticket, your signature is a little extra insurance.
The previous record for Mega Millions was a $390 million prize five years ago.
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