‘Somebody’s gotta win, so you never know’: How Bostonians are prepping for a $970m jackpot

A woman prepared a slip for the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in Los Angeles.
A woman prepared a slip for the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in Los Angeles.(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Majdoub Rhouziyal has been a busy man.

Standing behind the counter at Boston News Cafe Express, wearing a Red Sox hat and jacket, he dutifully rang up orders for Mega Millions tickets Thursday morning, one day before the drawing for the second-largest jackpot in US lottery history.

Rhouziyal, 50, said business has been brisk (“very busy,” he said), and he expects to see plenty more customers coming in prior to Friday’s drawing for the Mega Millions jackpot, which increased to a record-high $970 million Thursday.

Rhouziyal pressed the buttons on a touch screen. Beep. Beep. Beep. The lottery terminal spit out a white slip of paper, which he handed to the customer. He did this over and over again and said he hopes someone from Boston wins.


The sales for all the Mega Millions tickets in Massachusetts for Friday’s drawing totaled about $2.5 million as of noon Thursday. About $640,000 of those total sales are solely from tickets that were purchased Thursday morning, according to Christian Teja, spokesman for the Massachusetts State Lottery.

The sales figures are expected to rise significantly before the drawing Friday night, Teja said.

“The most sales are always on the day of the drawing,” he said.

Paul Daponte, 33, stopped by Boston News Cafe Express and plunked down $10 for five quick pick tickets. A baker by trade, he had just made a catering delivery when he stopped in to play the Mega Millions.

“You gotta play to win, right?” he said.

If he ends up winning the jackpot, Daponte said he’d buy a condo in Boston — maybe a place at Millennium Tower — then he’d take a vacation and start his own business in the restaurant industry.

“Most importantly I would give back to the community,” said Daponte, who grew up in Fall River. “Because I come from hardship, and I’d find ways to invest it back into some nonprofits.”


John Clancy, 53, of Weymouth walked in and bought six Mega Millions tickets for himself and his boss (a.k.a. his wife). Three for him, and three for her.

“If I win, she wins. If she wins, she wins,” he said, with a laugh.

Clancy said if he won, he’d want to share the wealth with charities that help veterans and other causes.

Clancy motioned to Rhouziyal, who was still behind the counter, selling lottery tickets to a line of customers. “I told him if I won down here, I’d buy him a store in the Caribbean,” Clancy said.

“Somebody’s gotta win, so you never know.”

Over at Sulgrave Newsstand on Milk Street, Jan Hingston, 72, of Charlestown waited in line to buy her ticket. When it was her turn, she asked for a quick pick. She didn’t have any special numbers to play.

What would she do if she won?

“I would help my family out, and my extended family, and I would give to charities, and help women’s causes . . . and then I’d go shopping,” she said.

Monica Thomas, 43, of Quincy stepped up to the counter to buy her chance to become a millionaire many times over. If she won the jackpot, she said she’d also want to share her winnings.

“I’d want to help my family,” she said, pausing to mull over the possibilities. “Buy a house. Help my church . . . pay a portion to my church.”


The sales record for a single drawing in Massachusetts is about $32.971 million, which was for the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot drawing on Jan. 13, 2016 — the largest lottery jackpot ever in the United States.

The Powerball jackpot for Saturday’s drawing is an estimated $430 million. A ticket bought in Massachusetts for Wednesday’s Powerball drawing was one of three tickets sold nationwide that won a $1 million prize. One ticket sold in Florida won a $2 million prize, officials said.

The largest jackpot ever won on a single ticket in US lottery history is $758.7 million. A Massachusetts woman — Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee — was the lone lucky winner of that Powerball jackpot in August 2017.

The jackpot for Saturday’s in-state Megabucks Doubler drawing is an estimated $3.5 million, officials said.

Tickets for the Mega Millions and the Powerball are $2 each, and tickets for the Megabucks Doubler are $1 each.

Tickets for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing can be purchased until 10:45 p.m. Friday at retailers throughout the state. The drawing will take place at 11 p.m. in Atlanta, lottery officials said.

The results for all the drawings can be found on masslottery.com, as well as on the Lottery’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages, officials said.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney. Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.