The Maryland Lottery machines, and the employees running them, at the Royal Farms convenience store on Route 1 in Fallston were kept busy late Tuesday morning as a steady stream of shoppers purchased sheaves of Powerball tickets.
"It's to the point where it's making our lottery machines slow down," Ashley Reynolds, a shift leader at the store, said, adding that most customers have been buying "two tickets or more."
Harford County has joined much of the country with a bad case of Powerball Fever during the past week as the top prize increases from about $500 million to a peak – as of Tuesday morning – of $1.5 billion, with next drawing coming up Wednesday night.
Marcus John, who lives in Havre de Grace, bought 10 Powerball tickets at the Fallston Royal Farms Tuesday "because it has to be somebody" who wins. He said he would make a "huge donation" to local charities if he does.
There are 186 retail establishments in Harford County where customers can purchase Powerball tickets, according to Erica Palmisano, a spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
The Fallston Royal Farms was a draw for not only Harford County residents, but also people from other counties and states who wanted Powerball tickets while working in or passing through Harford.
Eric Culver, of Conowingo, an electrician with Byrnes Electric north of Bel Air, was on his lunch break Tuesday while working the exterior lights at the nearby Fallston Village Center, the former Fallston Mall that is undergoing extensive renovations.
Culver said he does not buy Lottery tickets on a regular basis, but he bought 10 Powerball tickets Tuesday because the jackpot is "getting up there."
"I haven't bought a Lottery ticket in a while," he said. "It's a waste of money, but you see it's over $1 billion now, you might as well get one."