Lottery fever |

Lottery fever

Slim odds don't deter big dreams

When it comes to hitting the big time, some people like the odds of the Colorado Lottery.

“It’s a cheap way to possibly set yourself up for life,” said Allen Manderscheid, a truck driver from Denver. “Who knows, I might win $38 million one day.”

He estimates he spends $100 a year on tickets, and has won before, but nothing more than $10.

“It’s just fun,” he said.

Some gas station employees say some people play the lottery almost every day.

“There’s a few regulars in town, and that’s all they do is play lottery,” Cindy Jones, manager of Conoco Loaf ‘n’ Jug, said. “I guess it’s just how people choose to spend their money.”

Les Self, first assistant manager of North Kum & Go, said he sees the same people come in time after time.

“We have about 10 regular lottery players,” he said. “The regular ones probably spend about $50 to $80 a day, but they don’t get much back.”

Self said he gives out between $650 and $800 a day to winning tickets. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Kum & Go will sell 800 to 1,000 Power Plays because those are the days of drawings on television.

The station sold $92,000 in scratch-offs last year, though it does not see much of that. For the most part, lottery tickets are just a draw to get customers into the store, Self said.

He does, however, see plenty Wyoming residents, who come down to Craig to buy tickets when the jackpot gets high. Self said Wyoming does not have a lottery, so those wanting to play must go out of state.

It seems some players start as soon as they can, like Michael Mascarenas, who just turned 18. He bought his second and third lottery tickets ever Thursday afternoon.

He said he does not plan to play much in the future, and he came to the station Thursday “out of boredom.”

He understands the chance of winning is slim, though he hopes to get his dollar back every once in a while. He thinks some players might see things a little differently, though.

“Some people just get addicted,” he said, “and some people just think they’re going to win it big.”

For those who do get addicted to the lottery, there is a phone number on the back of tickets for help.

“I’ve never had to call the 1-800 on anybody,” Jones said.

Self said he’s never had to ask someone to stop playing either, and he hopes he never has to. But for those who might need assistance controlling how much they play the game, 1-800-522-4700 is the helpline.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or

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