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Big Game gets bigger

April 12, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Imagine writing a check for $38,000 and driving off in a brand new Toyota 4-Runner.

That's what one Chambersburg, Pa., area lottery winner did recently.

The unnamed woman, who was one of 14 Food Lion employees to take home $1.56 million in last month's Super 6 Lotto, inspired employees at the car dealership to take a chance on tonight's Big Game.

"It's just so close to home. Somebody's got to get stuck with it. Why not me?" said Fitzgerald Toyota employee Melody Hess, 33, of Chambersburg, Pa.

Hess drove to Maugansville on Thursday to plunk down $160 on behalf of herself and 31 other employees at the dealership.

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Hess joined a steady stream of lottery players who came into the Maugans Avenue Texaco, just off Interstate 81 near the Pennsylvania line, to buy their chance at becoming at least $220 million richer.

Almost everyone, it seemed, wanted to take a shot at the second-largest jackpot in the history of the Big Game.

By 6 p.m. Thursday, lottery buyers had snapped up about $7,500 in tickets at that machine alone.

On an average day, the store sells about $500 in Big Game tickets, said Jason Latta, who was punching out tickets as fast as people were buying them.

Darryl Andrews, 45, drove all the way from Harrisburg, Pa., to buy $20 worth of tickets.

And if he wins?

"I'd probably have to be locked up for a couple of days, just to regroup," he said.

Jim Rockwell, 61, of Maugansville, said the winnings could help fuel his passion for high-performance cars.

"I can't comprehend that kind of money," said the retired Mack Trucks Inc. employee.

Chazz Brown, 53, of Chambersburg, Pa., said he hoped the lottery would be his ticket to early retirement from Letterkenny Army Depot.

Brown is a regular lottery player in Maryland and Pennsylvania, he said.

"Some people drink, some people smoke. I play the lottery," he said.

The lure of the large jackpot didn't grab everyone.

Jeff Gossard, 39, of Maugansville, said the odds of winning and the line to buy a ticket were both too long.

"I've never met anyone who actually hit the lottery," he said.

A person who spends $1 for one ticket has the same chance of winning as someone who spends hundreds of dollars. The odds: 1 in 76 million.

The Big Game is played in seven states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia.

Players pick five numbers from 1 to 50 and one Big Money Ball number from 1 to 36.

In Maryland, lottery proceeds go into the state's general fund to pay for a wide range of state services.

The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was a Big Game prize of $363 million, won in May 2000 by ticket holders in Michigan and Illinois.

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