I follow the trail of winning jackpots ranging from $1 million to $415 million, back to the family-run stores where the ticket was sold.
Despite working in the shadow of someone else's lucky payday, shop owners and clerks maintain friendly and helpful relations 24/7, including most major holidays. They know all their customers by name and often anticipate what they need.
While it is true some owners receive a bonus commission, the amount varies wildly from state-to-state and in some states like Georgia, no bonuses are paid for top selling instant scratch winners.
Encroaching big box stores might offer better prices but they don’t offer the genuine camaraderie of these mom and pop stores.
In 2019 Americans spent $72 billion on lottery tickets and forty-four states rely on this revenue to prop up their shrinking state budgets.
State lotteries are a complex and booming Main Street economy, yet the hard work necessary to sell the tickets is largely invisible.
By focusing on family run corner stores where a winning lottery ticket was sold, I seek to honor the many unacknowledged people behind the winning ticket.