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Big Game fever rises with jackpot

August 02, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Rebecca Fuller of Smithsburg knows her chances of winning the Big Game lottery jackpot are slim. But even a slim chance of taking home $110 million is worth the price of a ticket, she said.

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"You gotta play. Someone has to win and it might as well be me," she said.

The odds on winning the Big Game jackpot are one in 76 million, according to a lottery spokesman.

Fuller, who buys about 10 lottery tickets a week, stopped Monday evening at Wooden Keg Liquors on Jefferson Boulevard to get her ticket.

Brisk ticket sales pushed the Big Game jackpot to $110 million. Earlier Monday it had been $105 million.

If the top prize is won and the winner chooses a lump-sum payment, he or she would receive $56 million. Otherwise, it money would be paid in installments of about $4.5 million per year over 25 years.

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Should Fuller's numbers hit, her plan is to move to North Carolina and buy a home on the beach.

With the remaining millions, she said she would help out family and friends.

"It would be really unbelievable If I win," she said.

Ticket sales at the Wooden Keg were steady on Monday but the big rush is expected today, according to a clerk.

Cashiers at the Sheetz convenience stores at Oak Ride Avenue and the Dual Highway said ticket buyers kept them busy all day Monday.

C&R Liquors on the Dual Highway nearly doubled its normal Big Game ticket sales for a Monday, said Manager Tom Potts.

"It's going well but tomorrow (Tuesday) is the big day," he said.

C&R cashier Dan McAllister of Hagerstown said he has won more than $500 at various times by playing his mistakes.

McAllister does this by buying tickets that he has rung up improperly. He said he is feeling lucky and will take a chance on the Big Game today and buy $10 worth of tickets.

"If I win I'm going to share it with my friends and family," said McAllister, who is retired from United Parcel Service.

If Millie Perry of Hagerstown hits the jackpot her intentions are the same. She said she will help out family members but her first step will be to quit her secretarial job.

"I would take the cash and travel," she said.

Like McAllister, Perry knows what it is like to win the lottery on a small scale. Last year she took home $3,680 in winnings from several tickets. She spent the cash on a family trip to Las Vegas.

She purchased her tickets at Central City Liquors on Maugans Avenue Monday. A steady flow of ticket buyers kept staff there on their toes.

The Big Game is played in Maryland, Virginia and five other states. To win, a player must correctly pick five numbers plus the money ball, said Patrick Morton, a lottery spokesman.

The drawing for the Big Game, which was started in 1996 will be held at 11:07 p.m. today.

Tuesday's $110 million jackpot is impressive but is not the biggest Big Game ever. In April the top prize rose to $197 million and was won by a Boston woman, he said.

He said ticket machines across Maryland have recorded as many as 50 transactions a second for the Big Game.

"Every time the jackpot goes above $100 million people go wild," said Morton.

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