NEW YORK (PIX11) — In one of New York City’s best-selling lottery stores, booths are filled with players sipping coffee or drinking beer while quietly penciling in their picks.
The lounge-like setup at Honey Bee Convenience on Staten Island has been sweet to its customers. The shop has produced the most lottery winners in the city this year, based on the volume of sales, according to the New York State Gaming Commission.
“You can relax, eat and pick your numbers, not like other stores where you do it while standing in line,” said Dipak Patel, who has owned the store since 2004. “We try to do the best for our customers.”
Honey Bee’s big winners include a woman who won $1 million in a Mega Millions drawing last summer and a $30 million lottery winner in 2005, the owner said.
The Forest Avenue spot is always buzzing, especially when the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots are astronomically high. In the past, customers have formed lines out the door and around the corner.
“People are crazy about these games,” a store worker said.
But it’s not the only game in town.
Pronto Lotto and Vape on 74th Street in Queens, Lucky Lotto 1 Deli on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, Rong Cheng on Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn, and Lucky Corner on West 96th Street in Manhattan round out the top five selling lottery stores in the city, according to the commission.
Jignesh Patel, the manager at Pronto Lotto and Vape, said the store has been among the best for about 15 years. In that time, customers have won cash-for-life prizes and have had a few $3 million winners. Last week, he said a lottery player won $100,000.
“We see regular customers,” the manager said. ”We do get busy. I think it’s because we are next to a train station so people commuting from all around the city stop in.”
He does, however, wish the stores had a bigger cut of the sales. The business owners make a 6% commission on all the lottery ticket sales, according to the gaming commission.
“It would help if we got more. The costs and expenses go up, but not our commission,” Jignesh Patel said.
As for where lottery winners cash in, Resorts World Casino in Queens is the top lottery prize claim center in New York City. The center has already shelled out more than $6.6 million in winnings this year, according to the commission.
Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.