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Big Game numbers snowball

April 16, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

If you're having a hard time comprehending the $325 million dollar Big Game lottery jackpot, try to picture this: If you placed $325 million in 6.1-inch long $100 bills end to end, they would stretch for about 313 miles.

Or $325 million in $100 bills, with each currency note weighing 1 gram, would weigh about 7,158 pounds.

If a Washington County resident were lucky enough to win the jackpot in tonight's Big Game drawing, there would be a wealth of ways to spend the money.

The winner could give about $2,463 to each of the 131,923 Washington County residents counted in the U.S. Census.

The winner could buy 2,708 top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz sedans, which sell for about $120,000 each, said Jeff Irwin, sales manager of Mercedes Benz of Hagerstown.

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Or the winner could buy one copy of "Investing For Dummies" by Eric Tyson for $15.39 at Amazon.com and invest the rest of the money. Or perhaps buy 1,000 copies - at a cost of $15,390 - for his or her closest friends and advisers so they can help the winner make investment decisions.

A winner who wanted to have fun could buy about 1,086,956 copies of the $299 Sony PlayStation 2 console from Target.com and share with friends.

If the winner really liked the movie "Titanic," he or she would buy 18,055,555 copies of the DVD for $18 a pop at Amazon.com and send copies to everyone he or she knows.

If a winner was feeling generous and community-spirited, he or she could pay for a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns baseball team. The last stadium proposal was dropped after the costs topped $15 million. The rest of the money could go to the first pitcher to pitch a no-hitter.

Or the winner could fully fund the Washington County Board of Education's proposed $132.8 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

A winner could retire Washington County's water and sewer debt of about $48 million, or pay for an extension of the Hagerstown Regional Airport runway, which is expected to cost $62 million. There would be money left over to reimburse the state government for the $13.3 million University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center.

Or a winner could reimburse Ted Turner Pictures for the approximately $54 million cost of producing the "Gods and Generals" movie, which was filmed mostly in Washington County, and loan him enough to film another Civil War movie here.

While you may be feeling rich if you hit the jackpot, you would not be on the Forbes list of the "world's richest people." You would need at least $1 billion to make that list of 497 people.

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

The Maryland State Lottery is expecting $12.5 million in total lottery sales in Maryland for today's drawing, compared to $8.6 million in sales for Friday's drawing, when the jackpot was $117 million, Lottery officials said in a news release.

Normal sales from Tuesday to Tuesday are $3.7 million. Normal sales from Friday to Friday are $2.4 million.

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.

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 range of state services.

By the time of the drawing, the prize could swell past the U.S. record of $363 million, split by two Big Game winners in 2000.

A single winner could take the cash over 26 years or accept a one-time $174 million payout - with at least one-third of that taken out for taxes. Players must pick the payout option when buying the ticket.

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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