COEUR d’ALENE – Barbara Permenter walked into the Spirit service station at Seventh and Sherman on a quest Friday afternoon.
Like many customers, she was there for a few things, but there was one specific item that was a must-have: a Powerball ticket.
But only one.
“Hell yeah, I’m going to buy a ticket,” she said.
While she doesn’t participate in the lottery often, a $1.6 billion jackpot, a world record, is a pretty good incentive to drop a few bucks.
“Only because somebody said I should,” Permenter said, smiling.
Statewide, ticket sales this week have been steady and brisk, although the Idaho Lottery does anticipate there will be an increase in purchases before tonight’s drawing.
“One ticket can change everything. But we want to remind everyone participating that it does only take one ticket to win,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery director.
He said buying more tickets doesn’t necessarily increase the odds of winning the jackpot, as each ticket has an equal chance.
“Only play what you can afford,” Anderson said.
Spirit employee Sabi Singh said they always sell lottery tickets, but even more when the jackpot reaches the billion-dollar mark.
He expects a growing number of people to stop in today and buy tickets as the drawing comes closer.
“Everybody wants to play,” he said.
Spirit employee Isaac Angel said people are buying multiple tickets. One person dropped about $50 early Friday, while another spent about $100 on Thursday. Some will spend even more.
“It’s getting up there in chunks,” Angel said.
Permenter, when asked what she would do with $1.6 billion if she won, didn’t hesitate with her answer.
“Give it away,” she said. “I’d keep a little for me and share it with everybody else.”
Permenter said it would be hard to spend a billion dollars. She said she doesn’t like to fly, so no trips, and doesn’t need a new boat or truck. She’s happy with life now.
“What am I going to do with it?” she said.
If she defies the odds of winning the jackpot, about 1 in 292 million, Permenter plans to let others benefit from her good fortune.
“When you get blessed, you have to bless everybody else,” she said.