TAMPA BAY, Florida - Some people believe the key to the Florida Lottery is a lucky coin, lucky numbers or a lucky streak. But others claim the luck is in where you buy the ticket.
"(Customers) know we're hot," said Janis Wood of the 7-Eleven store she works at in Zephyhills.
In analyzing 20 years worth of lottery winners, the 10 News Investigators found Wood's store one of the 10 winningest in Greater Tampa Bay. It's sold five winning tickets of $50,000 or more. Among the others:
- Mall News Stand, Gulf View Sq. Mall, New Port Richey (8 jackpot winners)
- Texaco, 4015 Little Rd., New Port Richey (6 jackpot winners)
- Soon's 49th St. Food Mart, 935 49th St. N, St. Petersburg (6 jackpot winners)
- Circle K, 4015 S. Westshore, Tampa (6 jackpot winners)
- Circle K, 5104 Manatee Ave., Bradenton (5 jackpot winners)
When it comes to bigger box stores, Publix owns all of the area's winningest stores. The top jackpot-seller is the Venice Publix on the corner of US-41 and Jacaranda Blvd. With nine winners of $50,000 or more - all in the last 10 years - it's the winningest store in all of Greater Tampa Bay.
"I told (the clerk) to sell me a winning one," said Tom Evancho, a retired Sarasota Co. Sheriff's deputy who won $191,183 last October at the Venice Publix.
Evancho, who spread the winnings around his eight children and dozens of grand- and great-grandchildren, still plays the lottery at the same store, hoping to be the 10th jackpot winner there as well.
The other big grocery stores with extraordinarily high amounts of jackpot winners include:
- Publix, US-19, Palm Harbor (8 jackpot winners)
- Publix, US-98, Lakeland, (7 jackpot winners)
- Publix, Curlew Rd., Dunedin (6 jackpot winners)
- Publix, Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota (6 jackpot winners)
- Publix, East Bay, Clearwater (6 jackpot winners)
- Publix, Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg (6 jackpot winners)
Connect with 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky. Send your story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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