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Best places to get lucky with the lottery

Lottery records show which stores sell most winning tickets

Robyn Collier made history in April 2014 when she became the first Floridian to strike it rich on the Mega Millions lottery game, winning $207 million.

[WEB EXTRA: Lottery stores county-by-county ]

At the same time, the Sunoco gas station at 600 S. Courtenay Parkway in Merritt Island became famous among lottery players for selling Collier her winning ticket. Only one other store in Florida has made someone richer, when 84-year-old Gloria MacKenzie bought a Powerball ticket worth $590 million from a Publix in Zephyrhills in 2013.

The odds of winning the lottery are the same no matter where customers buy tickets, but Florida Lottery records show some retailers sell many more winning scratch-off and terminal game tickets than others.

Between January and June, the Publix on Sand Lake Road in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood sold more than 257 winning tickets with prizes of $600 or more, making it the 4th most winning store in Central Florida. It is followed closely by the Publix on Wedgewood Lane in The Villages, which sold at least 282 winning tickets since the beginning of the year, according to state records. Yet another Publix, at the intersection of S. Orange Blossom Trail and W. Wetherbee Road in Orlando, has sold more than 300 winning tickets in 2015, records show.

UPDATE: News 6 has learned as of January 2016 the Food & Lotto was closed.

But Central Florida's most winning retailer also leads the state in lottery jackpots: a small convenience store called Food & Lotto on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, just north of the 408 Expressway. In the first half of the year, the store sold at least 646 tickets with jackpots of $600 or more.

"We opened up just to be a regular convenience store, but somehow lottery kind of took over," said owner Chris Chang.

In 2007, Chang sold a Florida Lotto ticket that was one of four to share a $52 million jackpot, the store's largest.

One reason why the Food & Lotto store mints so many winners is because it sells more lottery tickets than any other retailer in Florida.

"We've held that title for almost a decade now," said Chang.

Florida Lottery officials did not immediately confirm the total number of tickets Chang's store has sold this year.

Many of Chang's customers have techniques they hope will improve their luck.

"I’ve heard them all, from rabbit's foot, to rubbing my mannequin over there," said Chang, pointing to a leprechaun statue in the store covered with scratch-off tickets. "I’ve heard holy water. Don’t know if that kind of goes together."

Miridiana Soto buys two lottery tickets a week from Chang's store, in part because of its reputation for selling so many winning tickets.

In Chang's experience, he said people who buy the higher-priced scratch-off tickets, such as those selling for $20 or $25, tend to win bigger jackpots more frequently. But he acknowledges that is not always true.

"I've seen somebody win the jackpot with a dollar ticket," said Chang. "So it varies. If you have the luck, you have the luck."