Lottery Officials Planning for No Winner
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Players drove, flew, took the train and walked to the nearest Pennsylvania lottery ticket counter up to the last minute Wednesday before the winning North American record jackpot of more than $100 million was drawn.
The official winning numbers were 06; 16; 24; 34; 35; 37; 40; 41; 45; 60; 71. A winning ticket must have seven of the 11 numbers drawn.
James Scroggins, the lottery’s executive director, said the prize would be ″something higher than $100 million when it’s all said and done.″
How much higher won’t be known until sometime Thursday, but unofficial estimates have put the jackpot at more than $110 million.
Thursday also is the earliest it will will be known whether there is a jackpot winner, said lottery spokesman George Anderson. And it won’t be until Friday when the number of winners, if any, is known, officials have said.
″We are now running the computer to go through all 87 million transactions in an attempt to identify if there are any winners,″ Anderson said, referring to the $87.3 million worth of tickets sold since last Thursday.
The huge jackpot set off a lottery mania. Players took planes and trains from around the country to join in the buying frenzy.
″Being frivolous, it was worth it. Being conservative, I could’ve found better things to do with my money,″ said Irene Tasca, of Philadelphia. ″No one at work concentrated on work for the past two days.″
At the Penn-Ohio Drug Store in Sharon, night supervisor Debbie Trinckes, of Hubbard, Ohio, said there were 75 to 100 people in line trying to buy tickets when the machine closed for the drawing.
″We kept going out and telling them they weren’t going to make it,″ she said. ″Some left, but some stayed. Most were from out-of-town.″
In an average week, the state usually sells about 4 million or 5 million tickets, but on Tuesday alone about 24 million tickets were sold, said Karl Ross, deputy revenue secretary. From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, about 7 million tickets were sold. Players came from all over the country.
But lottery officials considered the nightmarish possibility that no one would win Wednesday night’s Super 7 drawing.
The odds of any one ticket bearing seven winning numbers is one in 9.6 million. With more than 74 million tickets sold in the last week, and the jackpot rolled over because of no winner in six previous drawings, Ross said the odds are about 4,000-to-1 against another rollover.
Although a winner or winners could come forward, lottery officials said that because of the high volume of sales they wouldn’t know for certain until sometime Friday if a winning ticket had been sold or how many had been sold. They said the computer would give them a preliminary indication Thursday afternoon, but that it would take another day to complete backup reviews of ticket numbers.
If there is a rollover, next week’s jackpot could approach $200 million, payable over 26 years, and some lottery agents would run out of tickets.
″We couldn’t handle another week like this, selling all these tickets, without having spot shortages,″ Ross said in a telephone interview. As a precaution, he said, the lottery was lining up vendors to do emergency printing runs if necessary.
″We’re in a brave new world, uncharted waters,″ Ross said. If a rollover occurred and the jackpot soared beyond $150 million, he added, ″I think the atmosphere would be even weirder.″
At least one vendor also hoped against another rollover.
″I’ve already told my customers not to come in if there isn’t a winner tonight,″ said Theresa Donavich, owner of Theresa’s Cards and News in Burgettstown, near the Pennsylvania-West Virginia-Ohio border.
″I’m locking the doors and I’m leaving town until after next Thursday,″ she joked. Vendors receive 5 cents for each $1 ticket they sell.
She said a constable and police officer were posted in the store, in part to alleviate her fear of being robbed, because of extra money from ticket sales.
″I’ve been terrified to stay in my own home for fear of somebody breaking in and demanding money, even though I don’t keep it there.″
But if state officials and vendors were wearing out, players weren’t. Lines of a dozen people or more were reported at most establishments and ticket sales were still brisk.
The volume prompted the state to press into service about 100 spare machines that are usually kept in reserve.
At Rainbow Entertainment, in a shopping mall near the Capitol, only about six people waited in line, including Paulita Vidot, a Harrisburg housewife who planned to buy one ticket. She laughed guiltily when her husband spied her in line, explaining, ″This is my first time. Usually I give him a hard time for playing ... I just wanted to say I participated.″
Also in line was Kathy Bohensky, a federal clerk who said she didn’t believe in lotteries but was buying five tickets.
″I don’t feel one person should get $100 million,″ she said. ″These are for my grandfather. He’s hooked. I’d like to see him win. He’s very, very sick. (The jackpot) could go towards his medical expenses.″
Even Linda Despot and Donald Woomer, winners of the previous Pennsylvania record jackpot of $46 million, bought a piece of the action.
Woomer, of Hollidaysburg, said he bought $100 worth of tickets, but mostly for fun and not really in hope of winning.
″Nobody would want to play anymore if we won again,″ he said with a laugh.