HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Maria Zapata isn't a regular lottery or numbers player, but Wednesday's record $500 million Powerball game payout prompted the Hastings-on-Hudson resident to put down $2 to play this week.
"I don't play unless the amount is big and this is the biggest so far," Zapata said as she played at K's Cards in Hastings. "Live life. That's what I'd do if I won a lot of money. I have family and others to share it with if it happens. We'll see."
The previous top prize was $365 million won by ConAgra Foods workers in Lincoln, Neb., in 2006. Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
K's Cards salesperson Pocky Rana placed Zapata's Quick Pick bet and handed the "winning" ticket to his customer.
"God bless whoever wins," Rana said. "We have many more Powerball sales now as the pot gets bigger. We have customers who play every day, but now everyone comes and tries. This is so much money."
Rana said most players don't play specific numbers, instead choosing the quick pick option.
Elmsford's Randall James said he plays Daily Numbers. Lotto, Mega Millions and other lottery games every day and has won as much as $2,500 in his 20-year betting career.
"I don't know what I would do if I won millions, but I'd like to have a chance to find out," James said as he left the Madaba's Deli in Ardsley. "I got about $20 of Powerball. I work in New York at a restaurant and I could see retiring early. Until then, I'll go to work and hope I win Wednesday."