Live 5 Investigates: Where you are most likely to win the lottery

VIDEO: Live 5 Investigates: Where you are most likely to win the lottery

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Time is ticking down for the Mega Millions billion-dollar winner to come forward. Nearly four months after the $1.6 billion ticket was sold in the Upstate, so far, the jackpot has not been claimed.

That amount, according to officials with the South Carolina Education Lottery, is just shy of the largest jackpot won in the nation. And it’s definitely the highest sold in South Carolina.

But what’s the possibility of you winning the lottery?

It's as easy as filling in numbers or scratching the ticket. From the local Pick 3 and Pick 4 to the more national games like Power Ball and Mega Millions, millions of people have cashed in in South Carolina.

Live 5 News requested information from the South Carolina Education Lottery that included all businesses that have sold winning lottery tickets, since the lottery was implemented, along with the amounts won at each location.

More than 13 million lines of data reveals that in South Carolina, from 2013 to 2017, the highest amount won, in a day, was in Lexington at nearly $400 million.

In our area, the small town of Andrews had a big winner at the H & S Shoppe.

"I play here every day,” Titus Pryor, who lives in Georgetown, said. “I have pretty good luck here.” That luck, he says, included winning a couple of $500 tickets.

That store is proud of their winnings. On the outside of the building, they advertise they have sold a $250,000 dollar ticket. According to the data I went through, on a day back in 2012, this store handed out more than $2 million in winnings.

Money spent on lottery tickets is given back. Since the Lottery launched in 2002, $5 billion has been given to the General Assembly to be used for education programs across the Palmetto State.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of appropriations.

But, where are you most likely to cash in?

“Lottery games are random, so by design there is no way to predict where the next winning ticket will be sold,” Holli Armstrong, the spokesperson for the South Carolina Education Lottery, said.

In taking the data from 2013 to 2017, I found there were 1,107 stores that appeared most frequently. Of those stores, 78 are in our area. While nearly half of those “most winning” stores in Charleston County were grocery stores, a majority seems to be gas stations and convenience stores.

Lottery officials reinforce that lottery games are random, so there is no way to predict where the next winning ticket will be sold.

“Prizes on scratch-offs are randomly distributed throughout the entire game at the time the game is printed by our instant ticket vendor,” Armstrong said. “The scratch-offs are then randomly shipped to retailers. The Lottery does not know where a winning scratch-off was sold until the prize is claimed.”

CLICK HERE to watch the Instant Ticket Security documentary.

“For terminal-generated games, like Powerball, players can either pick their own numbers or have the terminal randomly select numbers for them,” Armstrong added. “A drawing is held and the winning numbers are randomly selected. After the drawing has taken place, the Lottery posts the number of winning tickets sold for that draw on our website.”

CLICK HERE to watch a “Behind the Draw” video.

According to officials, the Lottery produces scratch-offs based on a prize structure that outlines the number of prizes, the value of prizes, and the odds for each game released.

This link will take you to a page featuring the current scratch-off games. Select a game and look for the “For complete odds, click here.” That link will take you to a page to view the prize structure.

Players can also track prizes as they are claimed.

“For terminal generated games, like Powerball, there is no way to predict the number of winning tickets in a year that will result from the drawings held,” Armstrong said.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.