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Mega Millions fever hits the High Desert

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Dec 17 2013 09:27:23 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2013 09:28:01 PM CST

People who rarely play lottery are drawn to the dream of a big jackpot, as NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns reports.

BEND, Ore. -

Mike Finney went on a Mega Millions mission Tuesday, making his way to the Quickway Market in Bend to fill in the bubbles that he hopes changes his life.

"I rarely play these things, but the last time it was $500 million. I bought a couple tickets -- they were worth nothing," he said.

So what drives people like Finney to play?  And what makes them think their $1 investment will bring staggering wealth?

"When it's this big, you've got to have a dream, you have to have the fantasy of winning the big bucks," said one shopper.

The bigger the fantasy, the more appealing it gets.

"It's a great thought. You can dream, and that's the fun part about it, to think of what you can do with it," said another lottery player.

Every customer wants the winning ticket.

"Everyone asks me if that ticket is the winning one," said a Quickway Market employee. "So I have to turn it over, rub some luck on it and make the numbers change a little bit, and hand it to them."

For some people, especially during the holidays, playing the lottery is a way of coping with financial anxieties and uncertainty.

"You've got to be happy, whether you win or lose, and the only way you're going to be happy after it happens is if you're happy before it happens," Finney said.

Even when they know the odds, which are on the order of one in 259 million, people still can't fight the what ifs?

"Somebody has to win! I know the chances are so low, but somebody's going to win, and it could be me," said one lottery player.

You never know -- you might just wake up Wednesday a millionaire.

"If more people are out there buying, there's less of a chance to win but if you do win, Merry Christmas!"

If no one wins Tuesday night, or the next drawing scheduled on Friday, the jackpot is expected to reach $1 billion by Christmas Eve.

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