Last Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2016
A couple of Tampa friends started a lotto pool on social media that allowed them to purchase $70,000 worth of Powerball tickets for Wednesday night's record breaking $1.5 billion drawing.
"It all started out as a Facebook post, $500 to get in," said Ryan McGuinness, 32. "I thought I may get five or 10 people and it just grew from there."
"Next thing you know, we got 140 people," said Shane Krugman, 33. "Everybody wants in and it’s growing."
Powerball tickets cost $2 each, so McGuiness and Krugman were able to buy 35,000, greatly increasing their odds of winning the jackpot.
"Brings our odds down from 292 million to under 8,000 to 1," McGuiness said. "So, still a longshot but at least we have a decent shot."
The friends had all those tickets printed up at the Metro Market in Ybor City. Owner Osama Samhoury, 59, said it took him more than three hours of straight printing to fill the order.
"Too many hours, too many tickets to print," he said. "I usually go home at 6, 6:30 but to accommodate our customers I had to stay here until almost 9 o’clock printing tickets."
Since Nov. 7, the Powerball jackpot has rolled over 19 times, making the next drawing the world's largest jackpot ever offered. To be eligible, all tickets must be purchased by 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday. The drawing for the $1.5 billion jackpot takes place at 11 p.m.
"It’d be fun to have 140 of your friends with $5-to-10 million each," said McGuiness. "A lot of people will be happy in Tampa if this wins."
"I’ll probably buy a boat and disappear," said Krugman. "The best part is all my friends will be rich all of a sudden. So we can all travel and have fun."