Lottery jackpot has people testing luck even during tough times

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The stock market is down, but the lottery jackpot is up, as many search for their own answers in lotto tickets during tough economic times.

At almost every gas station in Memphis, people like Leonia Moore test their luck.

"It was my lucky day. I won two dollars," Moore said.

Two dollars is one thing, but Mary Williams wants more.

"Win up to 50,000 dollars," she said.

Tennessee Lottery officials say the current economic atmosphere has slowed sales, but only slightly. Lottery officials still report growth this fiscal year.

Growth, thanks in part, to William Gandy.

"We play the lottery. Pretty much Cash 3," he said.

Gandy is a barber who owns his own shop, and plays the lottery every single day. He has won some, but not enough to shave any time off his work week.

"Ain't won enough to quit," he laughed.

But the economy is no laughing matter. With times high and tight, he is cutting it close just to get by.

"I used to have people come in get their hair cut three times a month. Now they only come in once a month," he said. "So if I was making thirty dollars a month off one customer, I'm only making ten dollars a month off that customer."

Perhaps, Gandy said, someday a lottery ticket will be his way out.  But it's a gamble with very few big winners, leaving most scratching and clawing just to make it through.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.