We Sold A Winner

Since 2010, I have been following the trail of winning jackpots from $1 million to as much as $1.5 billion back to the family-run stores where the ticket was sold.

Mom and pop convenience and liquor stores are the largest retailers of lottery tickets across the country. After a store sells a winning ticket it becomes known as “lucky”, bringing in new customers from neighboring cities and towns.

But these stores provide a lot more than lottery tickets. Shop owners, managers and clerks know the names and relationships of everyone who walks through their door. Regulars come for conversation, counsel and the comfort that accompanies familiarity with each purchase setting off another round of hometown banter. Store owners pin up family mementos, childrens' drawings and flags inbetween the immense array of comodities on sale.

Big box stores might offer better prices but they don’t come close to the comaraderie or fellowship of a family-run corner store.

In 2017 Americans spent more than $80 billion trying to become the next millionaire. In Massachusetts where I live, we have the highest per capita lottery spending in the nation. This project is a portrait of a diverse group of hard working Americans caught in the wake of a jackpot most say would “solve all their problems.”