LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - New year, new chance to become a millionaire.
The Arkansas Powerball is up to $570 million and counting. Folks are very excited. But, as THV11's Winnie Wright tells us, the winners aren't the only ones who benefit from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
"You've got a chance. You can't win if you don't play,” said Powerball ticket buyer, Tim Ray.
It's back. The Powerball and Mega Millions numbers have begun to soar, just a year after the Powerball topped $1 billion.
"I just hope whoever gets it shares it,” added fellow ticket-buyer Patrick Travers.
Lottery ticket buyers we spoke to at the Superstop on Cantrell all had others in mind if they are the lucky winners.
"I've got a lot of plans to do a lot of good things with it,” said Ray.
"90 percent of it I would give away. $400 million or something.. Obviously the tax would take quite a bit of it, but the rest of it, I would give away to charity,” echoed Travers.
Sherita Lee has more specific plans if she wins.
"I would use that money to give back. Start a program for patients with low incomes that cannot afford their medications," said Lee. "Then, it breaks my heart seeing homeless people on the side of the street. So if I win, I guarantee I will start a funding specifically for those two."
Whether you're planning to keep the winnings for yourself, or maybe you're part of an office pool, Donna Bragg with the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery says, a lot more than just the winners reap the benefits of the lottery in Arkansas.
"A lot of people don't realize how much the lottery has contributed to scholarships in Arkansas but it's really really significant," she said. "So far, more than $724 million contributed toward scholarships in this state. That's more than 275,000 scholarships."
"How lucky are we? Mega Millions is so high, Powerball is so high, and Natural State Jackpot which is an in-state jackpot game is also really high right now," said Bragg. "And we've got this special $5 bundle - the '5 buck bundle.' If you go in and ask for a '5 buck bundle', you get one of all three ticket, the NSJ ticket being free.”
There's a misnomer that people in Arkansas don't win the big bucks, but she says that's not true.
"We have at least 11 Powerball Millionaires in Arkansas. We don't always hit the jackpot, but we did once in Arkansas. $177 million with Mega Millions. We had a Texas player actually win that here in Arkansas," she said.
Mega Millions, which is currently valued at $450 million, will be drawn tonight, Jan. 5; Powerball will be drawn Saturday, Jan 6.
If no one gets the winning numbers, it will roll over and could reach $720 million.