- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001

Though Maryland and Virginia residents have a better chance of winning a state lottery game at home, they came to the District anyway yesterday to shell out their dollars for another crack at the Powerball jackpot.
Many of them had played — and lost — their dollars to Wednesday night's Powerball drawing for $193.5 million. No one playing in the District and 21 states won the jackpot.
Tomorrow night's projected $280 million Powerball take is "a conservative estimate at this point," Joe Mahoney, of the Multi-State Lottery Association, said after the Powerball drawing in Des Moines, Iowa.
About 60 percent of the Powerball tickets sold in the District are to Maryland and Virginia residents, said Bob Hainey, spokesman for the D.C. Lottery.
"People who don't want to stand in line are coming in today," Mr. Hainey said of the influx of out-of-towners yesterday to lottery stations just inside the District border.
Judging from Powerball ticket sales when the jackpot reaches dizzying amounts, Mr. Hainey expects long lines to form at the 468 Powerball stations in the District today, tonight and tomorrow.
Those in Maryland and Virginia could stay home to buy $1 tickets for tonight's $74 million Big Game lottery jackpot, which is offered in seven states.
The odds are a little better, too. Chances of winning Big Game are one in 76 million, compared with Powerball's chances of one in 80 million.
While millions of people are investing in daydreams of striking it rich, officials warn about taking chances that are too big.
"Powerball is just a game," Mr. Hainey said. "It's not a financial investment."
Powerball's biggest prize was $295.7 million paid in 1998 to a group of Ohio factory workers, who had pooled their entry dollars.
"You don't want to bet the farm on it," said Buddy Roogow, director of the Maryland State Lottery.
Though no one could claim the big prize, thousands of players in the District matched some of the six numbers to win small sums, from $3 to $100, Mr. Hainey said. Fifteen players can claim $5,000 apiece.
The big winner in the District was $100,000 for a ticket purchased at Embassy Mobil, in the 2200 block of P Street NW. That ticket matched five numbers but missed the Powerball number of 10.
Powerball officials said more than a million players across the nation won small sums from Wednesday's drawing, and 42 players were to receive $100,000 apiece.
While warning players not to risk too much, Virginia and Maryland officials take in millions of dollars in revenue from Big Game and other state lottery games. The profits go to pay other expenses, like education, which otherwise might raise taxes.
In Maryland, lottery profits of $407 million last fiscal year, ending July 1, was the third-largest general income fund for the state. In Virginia, lottery proceeds totaled $329 million last fiscal year.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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