Lotto tickets selling hot

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Can lightning really strike twice?

Apparently some lottery players are hoping so.

Most managers and clerks said purchases of Lotto tickets were up slightly at Vidalia stores on Friday, the day after Fred Fuller of Natchez was declared the winner of the Dec. 19 drawing.

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Fuller’s ticket was valued at more than $1.43 million, but he opted for a lump-sum payment of $967,335.65 instead.

&uot;Maybe more people realized that it can really happen,&uot; said Lynnette Moser, owner of the Top Speed convenience store.

&uot;Powerball is still our biggest seller,&uot; but Lotto sales are up, said Bo Taunton, owner of Taunton’s in Vidalia.

&uot;Normally, we sell a lot more Powerball tickets than Lotto tickets, but now we’re selling more Lotto tickets than we used to,&uot; said Tasha Lyons, assistant manager of the B-Kwik.

But some customers leave without buying tickets. &uot;They want to know if this is where he bought it,&uot; she said, referring to Fuller’s winning ticket. &uot;When we say ‘no,’ they’ll buy other stuff and leave and go down the street to buy their ticket.&uot;

For the record, U-Pak, another Carter Street convenience store, is the place where Fuller bought his ticket. There, opinions vary on whether there has been a noticeable increase in Lotto ticket sales.

Since Fuller was just declared the winner Thursday, &uot;there hasn’t been enough time to see whether there’s an increase,&uot; said U-Pak Manager Randy Sikes.

But his brother, William Sikes, said he has seen an increase – although, like most managers and clerks at Vidalia stores, he did not cite specific figures.

&uot;Everybody wants to get in on it,&uot; he said. &uot;People are coming in wanted to buy more (Lotto tickets).&uot;

And William Sikes, a co-worker of Fuller’s for 26 years at International Paper’s Natchez mill, can identify with wanting to get in on the action.

&uot;We’re glad he won,&uot; he said, &uot;but everybody wishes they’d have won it.&uot;