Washington State Seized By Lotto Fever As Jackpot Tops $10 Million
SEATTLE (AP) _ Lotto tickets were selling at a rate of $75 a second as players dreamed of capturing a record jackpot of at least $10 million in the Washington State Lottery drawing tonight.
With record sales even before the final - and usually heaviest - day of ticket-buying, ″the advertised value of $10 million ... certainly is the minimum,″ deputy Lotto director Scott Milne said Friday night.
″We will probably be paying out $11 million from the jackpot for a single winner,″ Milne said.
Ticket sales broke the old weekly mark of $8.6 million late Friday, with more than $2.5 million sold that day, said lottery spokesman Dick Paulson. For a few hours Friday, sales exceeded $75 a second.
Milne predicted that sales today would break the old one-day mark of $2.8 million set on March 1.
Each $1 ticket offers two chances to win by picking the six numbers drawn at random from a field of 44. No one has won a Lotto jackpot in the weekly drawing since Nov. 22.
Winners don’t receive the jackpot in one lump sum. Instead, the state buys annuities to provide annual payments over a 20-year period. With an $11 million jackpot, a winner would receive about $440,000 a year, counting 20 percent withholding for federal taxes.
Lottery officials usually know whether they have a winner within about three hours of the 7 p.m. PST drawing, but Paulson said the heavy sales could delay the computer search to determine whether a winning ticket was sold.
With 479 of the state’s 931 ticket outlets open on Christmas Day, Paulson said, sales still exceeded $600,000.
″Apparently people picked up milk, batteries and Lotto tickets,″ he said.
Darla Avery, owner of Darla’s Deli in Seattle, agreed.
″Lots of people came in and said they were buying them at the last minute to put in Christmas stockings,″ she said Friday.
″We have about four customers who buy $100 worth a week all the time,″ Ms. Avery said, ″but most people buy $5 or $10 worth. They’re getting $20 or $30 worth this week.″
Jack Meenahan, a retired foundry worker from Oregon, said he’d throw a party if he won the top prize.
″I’d invite all my friends over to the house and have ’em count my money.″