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Mega Millions players hope to cash in on jackpot

Mega Millions players hope to cash in on jackpot

September 16, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

If Jim Stewart's $1 Mega Millions ticket holds the six yet-to-be drawn numbers worth the $250 million jackpot, he'd travel the globe and make sure all his children went to college.

Stewart, of Mercersburg, Pa., said he'd "just take a lot of time off and enjoy life a little bit."

Hagerstown resident Barbara Robinson said the chance of Stewart or anybody else cashing in on the big prize isn't too great.

She said she had the winning ticket.

"I'm planning on winning the whole thing. I want you to know this," Robinson said as she bought two tickets - one for herself and another for her friend.

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Robinson and Stewart were among those buying Mega Millions tickets Thursday at A. C. & T. on Dual Highway in Hagerstown for tonight's drawing.

Gail Pelovitz, public affairs officer for Maryland Lottery, said if the winning ticket is held in the state, it would be the largest jackpot ever won in Maryland.

The cash option would be $153.3 million, she said.

Robinson said she usually buys tickets on Tuesdays and Fridays, the days the numbers for Mega Millions are drawn.

She said she's won a couple of dollars here and there, but never any large amount.

"Until now, because this is the winning ticket right here," Robinson said as she left the store.

Stewart said he's won $30 or $40 in the Pick 3 game, but that he doesn't play the lottery much.

Stewart, a managing partner at Texas Roadhouse, said the large jackpot prompted him to hand over the buck for a ticket.

"If a dollar can change my life, what the heck?" he said.

A. C. & T. employees said the number of people buying tickets Thursday wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but they expected sales to pick up significantly today.

Pelovitz said she expected long lines in Western Maryland because of West Virginia and Pennsylvania residents crossing the border to buy tickets.

Ashley Tracey, 18, of Hagerstown, appeared impressed with the size of the jackpot but said she probably wouldn't buy a ticket.

"I've never bought a lottery ticket," Tracey said. "I just turned 18 this year. I don't know how to do it."

The jackpot jumped from $200 million Tuesday, "one of the biggest jumps that I can remember," Pelovitz said.

She said the size of the jackpots have increased since California joined the Mega Millions game in June. Twelve states play Mega Millions. In addition to Maryland and California, the states are Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Texas.

Minimum jackpots are $12 million and grow until someone wins, according to the Maryland Lottery Web site, www.mdlottery.com. Players may also win cash prizes ranging from $2 to $250,000.

The biggest jackpot won in Maryland was $183 million, in June 2003 by a Baltimore County woman.

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