- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2005

Powerball officials said yesterday they have created a new way to cap their record-breaking jackpot of $340 million.

Under the new procedure, the jackpot will increase by only $25 million until somebody correctly picks all six numbers.

The additional money generated from lottery ticket sales will go into a bonus pool called Share the Winnings, said Robert Hainey, Powerball spokesman for the District. Players who pick all five numbers but not the final Powerball number win the bonus money.

More than 2.5 million players split $17 million Saturday night when nobody won the main Powerball lottery.

Mr. Hainey said the new procedure provides more winnings for more players.

Lines began forming yesterday at 480 stations in the District to buy one of 150 million lottery tickets expected to be bought for the $340 million drawing tomorrow night.

Richard Jones, 53, of Calvert County, said he would retire with his winnings, “then think about what I’ll do with the rest of it.”

Mr. Jones bought $10 worth of Powerball tickets at Sammy’s Liquors, at Bladensburg Road and South Dakota Avenue Northeast.

“It just happens I know this place and I just came by to get these,” he said.

Powerball lottery tickets are sold in 27 states, the District and Virgin Islands, but not in Maryland or Virginia.

The 12-state Mega Million Lottery had the all-time jackpot: $363 million in May 2000.

The previous Powerball record jackpot was $314.9 million. If nobody wins tomorrow, the jackpot goes to $365 million for Saturday, said Mr. Hainey.

Winners have 60 days to decide whether they will accept cash, minus taxes, or annuities paid over 30 years. The cash amount from $340 million will be about $164 million.

Powerball stations near D.C. boundaries do brisk business because the neighboring states do not have the game.

Mr. Hainey urged buyers to write their names on their tickets immediately after buying them and to take precautions not to lose tickets.

“Sign tickets now,” he said. “Don’t wait until you win. I would treat those tickets like they were gold.”

Powerball’s biggest winner is Andrew Jackson “Jack” Whittaker Jr. of Scott Depot, W.Va.

He won the $314.9 million on Christmas Eve 2002 and chose to accept $111.7 million.

Mr. Whittaker, then 55 and already a successful businessman, gave millions of dollars to churches and charity but frittered away or lost close to a million, too.

Thieves broke into his car twice, once outside of a strip club, and took an estimated $600,000. Mr. Whittaker has also been arrested for drunken driving and misdemeanor assault.

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