There are less than one in 300 million chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot this week, but one convenience store outside Los Angeles is already counting its winnings as Friday night approaches. The time for the EDT drawing is rapidly approaching. A sign above the counter of the Chino Hills convenience store proclaims it the “LUCKIEST 7-ELEVEN IN THE WORLD,” six years after it sold the largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
The Mega Millions jackpot has now surpassed $1 billion, and players from all over the world have been queuing up to get their hands on the winning tickets as of Thursday morning.
In Vish Josai’s words, “This is the store of luck, so I hope it will be lucky for me as well.”
There is a $1.1 billion jackpot up for grabs as of Friday morning. The grand prize would entail a payout of $648.2 million in cash.
A customer bought a winning ticket in the store in January 2016 and split the $1.6 billion jackpot with two other people who had also picked the correct six numbers at random locations across the country.
Balbir Atwal, who has owned the store for nearly 30 years, says that the 2016 win was a turning point for the business.
Neighbors are flocking to buy tickets whenever the jackpot is high, says Atwal. It’s not just locals who visit; people from as far away as Las Vegas come to play here.
Disneyland, which is only 20 miles from his store, is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. “A lot of people travel to Disneyland and they (also) come here just to see this place,” he added.
His profits are boosted by customers who come to buy lottery tickets but also purchase other items.
Although his shop has a long history of awarding mega-prizes, the digital sign displaying the current jackpot is unable to keep up.
On $999 million, it is still “stuck.”
A few lucky players came within a hair’s breadth of taking home the grand prize in Tuesday’s lottery. A total of nine tickets matched the first five numbers, but not the Mega Ball, according to Mega Millions. One of the winning tickets had a $3 million payout multiplied by the game’s Megaplier feature, while the remaining winning tickets each received a $1 million prize.