For South Florida Mega Millions Players, Dreams Range From Buying a House to a Rolls-Royce

By Gilma Avalos
|  Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013  |  Updated 12:29 AM EDT
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    Running in just before closing time at a gas station in Miramar on Tuesday, folks lined up with dreams of waking up $636 million richer.

    "Buy a car and a house," said one woman in line.

    There were practical would-be millionaires, as the drawing approached for a mammoth Mega Millions jackpot, the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

    "What I would do with the money if I won is pay off school. So hopefully I win!" said Sheldon Guy.

    A California lottery spokesman confirmed Tuesday night that one winning ticket was sold in San Jose, Calif., but a winner has not yet been identified.

    Back in South Florida, some people had slightly more indulgent dreams.

    "Buy a few cars: Lexus, Benz, Rolls-Royce," said Emmanuel Sotomayor, who added he would invest most of it.

    Some really invested in the gamble. One man at La Preferida, a local grocery store in Hialeah, withdrew $200 from a local ATM. All of it was playing money.

    But along with the dreams of that cold hard cash come some cold hard facts.

    Since October, the Mega Millions game has gone 21 consecutive drawings without anyone winning the jackpot.

    The rules of the game have recently changed, and there are new prize levels.

    "There are many subsidiary prizes and the odds of winning something are 1 in 15," said Tom Dolan, Florida Lotto district manager for Miami.

    But consider this. Before the new rules, you simply picked six numbers from 1 to 56 on those pink and white sheets. Now you choose six numbers from 1 to 76. It means the odds of taking it all home are 1 in 259 million.

    But at gas stations and grocery stores everywhere, the only number folks cared about was 1.

    "I do know you have to get at least 1 ticket to win," said one woman with a smile.

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