Millions on line in lottery

November 30, 1999|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM


Diana Dobson was surprised to hear the amount of the Mega Millions jackpot ? an estimated $256 million ? when she purchased five lottery tickets Monday night.

"Oh," she said. "I had no idea."

Dobson, of Hagerstown, said she purchases the tickets sporadically, whenever she happens to be at AC&T on Sharpsburg Pike.

Dobson was about the 400th person to purchase a Mega Millions ticket in four hours at the store Monday, shift leader Jeanne Ryan said.

"We've sold quite a few," Ryan said.

Ryan said she expected even more people to purchase tickets today before the winning numbers are announced at 11:07 p.m.

Maryland is one of 12 states that participates in the Mega Millions lottery. The $256 million prize is the highest in Maryland history, state lottery spokeswoman Gail Pelovitz said.


Dobson said she used to purchase lottery tickets more frequently. Once, she said, she took home $1,000 from a scratch-off ticket.

"That was a pretty good prize," she said.

If she takes home the jackpot in tonight's drawing, Dobson said she would spread the millions among family, friends and charities.

Ryan said most who have purchased the tickets have been excited.

"Everyone has their dreams," she said.

Even Ryan said she has purchased two tickets.

"I play with a customer who comes in," she said.

Her highest payout was $2.

"Maybe we'll hit the big one," she said. "You never know."

Tina Younker of Hagerstown said she buys lottery tickets when the jackpot is high. Monday she bought $10 in tickets from AC&T.

"Maybe these will be lucky," she said, holding the tickets in her hand.

The largest jackpot won in Maryland before this was $183 million, Pelovitz said.

Because Friday's Mega Millions drawing had no winners, the $212 million jackpot grew to an estimated $256 million.

Younker said she had been planning to buy tickets for Friday's drawing but forgot. When the pot grew again, she made sure to buy them.

While Ryan's store sold many Mega Millions tickets Monday, other convenience stores reported slower sales.

"Normally when it's this high, we get slammed," said Dawn Mills, an employee at 7-Eleven on Dual Highway.

Mills said the store had not seen much difference in the number of customers wanting to purchase Mega Millions tickets.

Areas near state borders ? like Washington County ? generally see higher sales, Pelovitz said.

People have until 11 p.m. to purchase a Mega Millions ticket.

Staff writer Tiffany Arnold contributed to this story.

The Mega Millions estimated jackpot is a state-record $256 million. Tickets will be sold until 11 p.m. Tonight's drawing is at 11:07.

Did you know?

  • The last time a Maryland resident won the Mega Millions jackpot was May 9, 2004, when Miguel and Maria Bonilla of Silver Spring won $109 million.

  • Maryland's Mega Millions sales generated around $100 million in 2005. That's roughly 18 tickets sold for every man, woman and child in the state.

  • Maryland lottery sales totaled around $1.485 billion in 2005. A little more than half that amount was returned to players in the form of prizes.
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