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$30 Million Lottomania Draws Lines of Bettors

January 19, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Saturday’s $30 million jackpot in the state’s Lotto 48 drawing attracted so many players that lottery officials, who anticipated raising the payoff, said their computers couldn’t keep up.

Bets were placed at a rate of more than $19,000 a minute Saturday morning and sales were made faster than during a comparable period before August’s $41 million drawing, the North American record, said Lottery Director John D. Quinn.

The six winning numbers drawn Saturday night were 22, 32, 34, 14, 43 and 12.

Lottery officials said the computers wouldn’t be able to finish processing results to determine if anyone had picked the right numbers until Sunday.

On Saturday alone, sales totaled $11.4 million, said Dan Codden, the lottery’s director of operations. Since Wednesday’s drawing, people had bet $27.8 million, compared to $18.7 million gambled in the same period before the August drawing, he said.

Revenue from that heavy betting had boosted the jackpot from $28 million Thursday to $30 million by Friday.

Quinn said that if no one won Saturday’s drawing, ″I’m reasonably assured that we may exceed the $41 million and may reach $50 million,″ the limit set by the state on Lotto prizes.

But Quinn said the chances of someone picking a winning number Saturday were ″above 90 percent.″

People stood in lines outside newsstands and other shops selling tickets, with waiting times up to 21/2 hours reported at some spots.

″I want to get rich. I could use the $30 million,″ said Paul Mercantante, 28, of Trenton, N.J., waiting in line in mid-Manhattan. ″I’d take a trip around the world, buy a house at the shore, definitely retire.″

John Konevich, 27, a San Francisco banker in New York on a business trip, said he bet $5 on ″just a chance to win $30 million and go back and buy San Francisco.″

″I’d probably buy a golf course. I like golf,″ he added.

″You got dreams, boy,″ said his friend, Josephine Barranco, 25, of New York.

The Lotto 48 jackpot had rolled over six times, with no winners since the prize began at $3 million on Dec. 28. The jackpot rolled over seven times before the record Aug. 21, 1985, prize of $41 million was hit by three tickets, one of which was shared by 21 Mount Vernon factory workers.

If a single player won Saturday, the payoff would be 21 annual checks of $1.3 million each, Quinn said.

To win, a bettor must pick six numbers from a field of 48 to match the numbers chosen in a televised drawing. The odds are about 12 million to 1, but the minimum $1 play buys two bets, reducing the odds to about 6 million to one for every play, Quinn said.

New York wasn’t the only state with betting fever Saturday.

Many lottery ticket terminals in Michigan ran non-stop as people bought Lotto tickets for a jackpot expected to top $10 million. Jack Schaffer, chief deputy commissioner of the Bureau of State Lottery, said sales for the drawing were expected to top $8 million - about four times the average for a Saturday drawing.

″I’m too busy to talk,″ said a clerk who answered the phone at a grocery store in Hancock, Mich. ″They’re making faces at me for answering the phone.″

Thousands of people stood in lines in the second heaviest week of betting in the Maryland Lotto game’s history for a $9 million jackpot drawing.

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