Lottery fever kicks back up after pandemic lull, jackpots at new highs

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have hit their largest amounts since the pandemic outbreak, creating brisk sales at Bay Area stores.

"I'm happy! I'm busy," Jeet Singh said Tuesday morning at Fremont's Kwik and Convenient Liquor Market, where he works as a sales clerk.

The Mega Millions jackpot is at $432 million and Powerball is $410 million.

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California Lottery officials say this is good to see, after watching sales dip during the pandemic.

"During the first months of the pandemic, lottery sales were down and fewer Californians were buying tickets. But over the past several months we are returning to pre-pandemic sales, we are returning to normal," said Jorge DeLaCruz, a spokesperson for the California Lottery.

The dip in sales does impact funding for California schools, but DeLaCruz says not by much.

"Lottery supplemental funding only accounts for 1% of the state's educational budget," he said.

Some shoppers who bought tickets on Tuesday said their ticket buying habits definitely changed during the pandemic.
"Slowed down a little bit because it's hard times. But the jackpot is big so, take a chance," said Wic Song as he bought tickets Tuesday.

These jackpots seem to be luring people back in.

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2020 is looking a bit brighter for someone in San Jose this weekend.

"I've been noticing its' been going up and up that's another reason why I am here today," said Danny Olson of Fremont.

Lottery officials are happy to see it, they just encourage financial caution among the excitement.

"Of course we are very happy and happy to see people play responsibly," DeLaCruz said, as he encouraged playing within your budget.
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