Big Game May Exceed $300M
May. 07, 2000
ATLANTA (AP) _ The jackpot in the Big Game lottery, already a record $300 million, could go even higher.
Lottery officials from the seven states that sell Big Game tickets will confer by telephone Monday morning to decide whether weekend sales were enough to justify a bigger jackpot for Tuesday night's drawing. They'll talk again Tuesday morning to set the final amount.
The nation's previous record lottery jackpot was $295.7 million, set in the multistate Powerball game in 1998. That prize was shared by 13 machinists from Westerville, Ohio.
The frantic pace of ticket sales leading up to Friday's drawing had increased the jackpot from $230 million to $250 million just in the hours before that night's numbers were picked.
``I think we're going to see the same thing. People will be pooling their money,'' said Virginia Haines, New Jersey Lottery executive director.
``If sales are going strong or are higher than anticipated or if the bond interest rates go higher _ that also helps us increase the jackpot,'' she said.
Total sales from last Tuesday's drawing to Friday night exceeded $122 million. New Jersey led with sales of nearly $34 million. The game also is played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia.
Haines attributed record New Jersey sales to large volumes of ticket buyers from New York and Pennsylvania, states which don't participate in multistate games.
With the number of players drawn by the huge jackpot, lottery officials predicted multiple winners.
``We have so many people playing across the country, when we have a winner it seems logical to me that there might be 10 people across America that have the same six digits,'' said Penelope W. Kyle, executive director of the Virginia Lottery.
``It would be nice if we get a lot of winners,'' she said. ``When you have people pooling together a lot of money, they're splitting it up among each other and (still getting) enough to help them.''