TALLAPOOSA, Ga. (WIAT) — Millions of Americans waited to hear the winning lottery numbers Saturday night.
Many people from Alabama drove across state lines to Georgia and Tennessee to play. Parking lots were packed outside several gas stations in Tallapoosa, Ga. and lines of people wanting to buy lottery tickets were out the doors.
John Weeks and JoAnn Howard from Oxford, Alabama waited in line at a convenience store to buy a lottery ticket. They tell CBS 42 this isn’t the first time they have crossed state lines to play the lottery.
“It’s fun. We come over and we listen to music. We sing a lot. You know. We come over here. Have lunch. And we like to enjoy the beautiful day,” Weeks said.
Some people drove as far as two hours away to buy tickets like Barbara Rahming from Marion, Alabama. She felt confident after buying her ticket. If she wins, she plans to help her family and donate to charity.
Don Broadenas from Birmingham, along with many people in line, wishes Alabama would play the lottery.
“Very frustrating. I could have stayed at home and been done in 10 minutes,” Broadenas said.
Governor Kay Ivey had experts conduct a study on the benefits of casino gambling and the lottery for states. Based on the report released in December, Alabama would gain $200-$300 million annually.
“If you did nothing else but take the lottery money and put that into education, our students would be so much higher internationally. And we need that,” Howard said.
Those numbers are why most people in the state are urging officials to bring the lottery to Alabama.
“Would you please, please, give us an opportunity to have a lottery too? We need other individuals to come to our county too. So we can benefit the rewards,” Rahming said.
The state hasn’t voted on the lottery since 1999. Rumor has it the discussion about the lottery will come up when the state’s session begins in February.