A Springfield store where players have won more than $2.8 million in prizes the last three years is among one of the best places in the state to hit the lottery.
The chance of winning increases if the lottery player purchases the ticket at a store with a high amount of sales, a Springfield News-Sun examination revealed.
Clark County businesses have sold more than $68.3 million in lottery tickets in the past three years.
Plum Food Mart on North Plum Street is the No. 1 store in Clark County and ranks 12th in the state for lottery ticket sales for the past six years.
In the last three years, Plum Food Mart sold more than $3.5 million in lottery tickets.
“Sales and prizes typically follow each other. Outlets with the most sales will generally also have the most winners over time,” Marie Kilbane Seckers, director of marketing and communications for the Ohio Lottery.
Such Patel, owner of Plum Food Mart, said the majority of his store sales are lottery tickets.
The reason his store wins so often, he said, is because the tickets process and are ordered so fast due to the large amounts that are sold.
By comparison, in the last three years, the Meijer store on Hillcrest Avenue sold more than $1.59 million in lottery tickets — about $1.9 million less than Plum Food Mart. Meijer lottery players claimed more than $1.2 million in prizes during that time.
Leen’s Carryout on Mechanicsburg Road sold $1.1 million worth of tickets and had $739,000 in total prizes.
T&A Grocery & Carryout sold $1.29 million in the three years with the total prizes of $684,000.
The stores had an increase in sales from 2011 to 2012.
However, due to the recent opening of casinos and racinos, Ohio lottery sales are expected to decline.
“We projected a 5 percent decline in state sales across the board in fiscal year 2013 due to the opening of casinos in the state,” said Kilbane Seckers. “Instant sales, which make up more than half of our sales, are down 4.5 percent to date. Overall, lottery sales are essentially flat, down 1.6 percent.”
According to Kilbane Seckers, stores earn a statewide average of 6.2 percent in commissions on sales and for cashing tickets. The rest of the proceeds from lottery sales, by state law, are used for education purposes in Ohio.
When the jackpot was up, Patel’s store sold $10,000 in Mega Million tickets in just one day.
Plum Food Mart has a section just for the lottery and has regulars that come in multiple times a week just to buy tickets and play games.
Patel says customers come in daily.
“I play the Pick 3 and Pick 4 everyday,” said Sylvester White, a regular customer at Plum Food Mart.
The most White has won is $5,000.
Russell Hoffett is another regular customer. He comes in by the week to buy tickets, hoping to win the millions that everyone desires to have.
“This is the luckiest place in Clark County. People always win from here,” said Patel.
A little over two years ago, Cole Barker, who works at Greenon Local Schools as a technology director, won $2 million from Patel’s store.
Barker was asked to try out a new lottery ticket and thought to himself that $20 was a lot of money for one ticket, but he did it, not knowing the luck he was about to have.
“Life was good before I hit the lottery. It’s just icing on the cake,” said Barker.
After winning the $2 million, Barker has also won more than $22,000 from Plum Food Mart.
Ohio has only had two Powerball jackpot winners, both in 2010 from the Columbus and Toledo areas, but has had 17 $1 million to $2 million Powerball prizes since 2012.
The Ohio Lottery says it awards close to 10 million prizes each month, usually $100 or less.
The website has a “lucky store” locator that shows lottery players where tickets worth $1 million have been sold since 2011.
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