Lottery fever hits the Bay Area ahead of $1.6B Mega Millions drawing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Lottery fever has swept the country and the Bay Area is no exception. For employees at Ernie's Liquors in San Jose's Evergreen neighborhood, it's been a crazy couple of days.

"Unimaginable if somebody wins tonight," said Ernie's owner Kawal Sachdev during a lunchtime interview with ABC7 News. "We have three or four people working at the same time and we still cannot break the line."

RELATED: The 10 biggest lottery jackpots and their winners

Earlier this summer, a group of Wells Fargo employees bought their winning ticket at Ernie's splitting a $543-million prize. Thousands of customers stopped by Tuesday for a chance at the $1.6-billion jackpot.

"It only takes one ticket to win and you never know who," said Jumana Hassan, who traveled to San Jose from Burlingame. "Whether you buy a hundred dollars worth or two dollars worth, it's lucky."

The chances of winning the jackpot are one in nearly 303-million. So with the odds so long, why is it that people play?

"Everybody kind of wants to be part of the story," said Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. "They would talk about it at work or they would talk about it at home, or they talk about it on the street. It's part of a thing. It's a phenomenon."

RELATED: Mega Millions jackpot at $1.6 billion

In a place like Silicon Valley, where wealth and poverty intersect, players are likely to take more chances with the hope of hitting it big.

"It could be a waste of money, but you cannot pass up the opportunity," said San Jose resident Ly Ablau. "You just have to come out and do it."
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.