People in Cedar Rapids try their chances at Mega Millions jackpot

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9)-- Tuesday night's Mega Millions jackpot totals $667 million.

The Iowa Lottery says most people wait until drawing days to purchase tickets.

Tuesday afternoons aren't usually too terribly busy at Hill Brothers Cenex in Cedar Rapids. But Manager Divyesh Patel saw a lot of new faces on Tuesday. The new customers want a chance to win the Mega Millions jackpot.

"With this high amount i would say every third customer... That's more than normal," Patel said.

And the shop welcomes the traffic. Many people purchase something else, like a drink or candy while they're here.

"It pulls people in with promotional lottery," Patel said.

And many, like Robert Thornton, stop in more than once over the last couple days.

"Mega Millions and Power Ball with the the multiplier," Thornton said.

The Iowa Lottery tracks these sales, and say they're up statewide. That's even compared to last week when the jackpot was an estimated $548 million.

Officials with the Iowa Lottery say all lottery sales benefit the state. They won't know the exact dollar amount until after someone wins the jackpot, but say extra money from the lottery is divided into the Veterans
Trust Fund or State General Fund.

And Cedar Rapids is one of the hottest selling spots in the state. People here hope they just may win Tuesday night.

"I would be happy with a million-- just pay all my bills off and start fresh," Thornton said.

The Cenex here says it's known to winners.

"Now and then we'll have a $1,000 winner. One time we had a $5,000,' Patel said.