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Raising Cane's founder buys 50,000 more Mega Millions lottery tickets to share with employees

After buying $100,000 worth of tickets earlier this week and not winning, Raising Cane's founder Todd Graves purchased 50,000 more tickets when the jackpot went up to $1.28 billion on Friday.
/ Source: TODAY

The founder of the chicken fast food chain Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is diversifying his portfolio in an unusual way: by buying into the lottery.

Todd Graves first shared a video of the lottery ticket machine pumping out tickets on Monday afternoon.

"Buying 50,000 lottery tickets is harder than you think! Hoping to share the winning jackpot with our 50,000 @RaisingCanes Crew," he captioned the post.

Then, after not winning that drawing, Graves invested another $100,000 into the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday when the jackpot rose to $1.28 billion.

If won at that amount, CNBC reported, it would mark the third-largest lottery prize ever awarded.

“As soon as we heard how big this jackpot prize is, we couldn’t miss out on the chance to win the Mega Millions jackpot and share it with our Crew who always stand together,” Graves said in a release earlier in the week. “None of what we do at Cane’s would be possible without our Crew, which is why we are always looking for ways to bring them a little extra fun, and if we’re lucky, a surprise on Wednesday morning.”

Related: Raising Cane’s puts corporate staff to work as fry cooks, cashiers amid staffing shortage

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers co-CEO and COO AJ Kumaran told TODAY Food on July 25 that he had personally bought the tickets for Graves, who is currently out of the country.

"Times are hard and things are tough," Kumaran said. "And we hear from local members, they see it. They see it in the grocery store shelves, they see (it) in the gas station."

So when the corporate team saw the lottery get to the largest jackpot ever, they decided to "have some fun with it."

Graves paid for the tickets with his personal money, Kumaran said, noting that companies can’t play the lottery.

"So if we win, we will split it evenly amongst all 50,000 of us... It'll be a good day for all of us," he laughed. "Pray for us!"


EDITOR'S NOTE (July 29, 2022, 9 p.m. ET): This story was originally published on July 25, before Graves and Kumaran bought a second round of lottery tickets. It has been updated to reflect the second set of 50,000 tickets purchased.