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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- At least two people are waking up to find themselves millions of dollars richer.

The holders of a ticket sold in Idaho and another in Washington state will be sharing Mega Millions' $355 million jackpot from Tuesday night's drawing, lottery officials said Wednesday.

The two winners from Tuesday will each get $177.5 million.

While the winner isn't from the Carolinas,new analysis by the NC Justice Center shows a strong correlation between North Carolina's poorest counties and the heaviest lottery ticket sales.

The week of heavier ticket sales coincides with the release of yet another report showing that South Carolina is second only to Mississippi in the number of families who report going hungry at some point in the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010.

The North Carolina Justice Center mapped the counties with the highest per capita lottery ticket sales and overlapped the state's poorest counties and found a strong correlation.


Click here to see the map.


This week the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center - another anti-poverty group - released a state-by-state analysis of food hardship concluding that nearly one in four respondents reported incidents in the previous year in which they did not have money to buy food for themselves or their families.

One chance at the Mega Millions jackpot costs a dollar and many players bet more than once. One dollar will purchase eight small apples at the North Carolina Farmer's Market in Charlotte.

I spoke with one gentleman who spent $30 a day on lottery tickets, said reporter Sarah Ovaska of NC Policy Watch. That would be a pretty sizable down payment on a house.

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