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Some not buying what Powerball is selling

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Clint Vetter of West Fargo shows off three Powerball tickets he purchased Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at a Casey's General Store in Fargo in hopes of winning the $700 million prize. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — The Powerball lottery jackpot hit $700 million on Wednesday, the second-highest amount in its history, but not everybody was lining up to buy a ticket.

Mark Meister, a North Dakota State University professor, hasn't bought a Powerball ticket in years. And even when he did, it was "just on a whim."

His reasoning is simple.

"My life is good right now," Meister said. "With money comes trouble."

Getting rich is overrated, Meister said, and living simply is the way to go.

Jason Giemza of Fargo also hasn't purchased a ticket in many years, saying it's a "waste of money."

But Meister and Giemza, both over the age of 40, have slightly different reasons for not purchasing lottery tickets than 20-year-old Sam Capristant.

Capristant is studying at NDSU and doing his best to save money while in school.

"I've got better things to invest in," he said, adding he has no plans to purchase a ticket in the future.

However, people who choose to not buy Powerball tickets seem to be in the minority, according to area convenience store clerks.

Paula Ennis, assistant manager at Casey's General Store, 301 10th St. N., said her workplace has been swarming with customers, creating nonstop lines and the need for an extra clerk. She estimates the store has seen a 75 percent to 80 percent increase in people buying lottery tickets.

"It's been huge," Ennis said.

Leeon Patraw, manager at Holiday Gas Station, 2755 Brandt Dr. S., said Holiday has experienced a similar increase in Powerball customers.

The store normally has about $200 in daily lottery sales, he said, but at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, it already had more than $2,000 in Powerball sales.

Of avid ticket buyers, Bill Lundun, a truck driver from Moorhead, is at the top of the list. The 57-year-old has bought a Powerball ticket about once a week for the past 10 years. The reason? "To get rich," he said with a laugh.

Like many others, the current 1-in-292-million chance of winning does not bother Lundun. There doesn't have to be great odds, or even a $700 million jackpot.

"It doesn't have to get that big for me," Lundun said.

As of Wednesday, nobody had matched all six Powerball numbers in more than two months. The latest drawing is at 9:59 Wednesday.