- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2005

They lined up dozens deep across the country yesterday, crowding counters at convenience stores and plunking down dollars for a one-in-146-million shot at winning the record $340 million jackpot from last night’s drawing.

At a D.C. gas station at the corner of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue Northeast, about 60 people waited in a line that snaked through the food aisles, out the door and around the corner of the building.

Rooble Mire, 22, drove into the District yesterday from Bowie just to buy $20 worth of tickets.

“I’ve never played the lottery before, but today it’s a big pot,” he said.

Many of those in line yesterday afternoon had skipped work to get a piece of the action.

“I shouldn’t be here, I’m in the middle of work,” said Sandra Bennett, 35, who works in Bowie and came into the District with her daughter especially for tickets. “It’s been a long time since I played the lottery, but $340 million? I’m in line like everyone else.”

If last night’s drawing does not produce a winning ticket, a rule that limits the growth of the jackpot will kick in for upcoming drawings.

Saturday night’s jackpot will grow by only $25 million, with surplus revenue from ticket purchases redirected to a fund that will provide bigger prizes for players holding the five winning white-ball numbers without the red Powerball number. The bonus will be added to the five-number winners only if someone wins the Powerball.

Without a Powerball winner, five-number winners still get $200,000 apiece.

Powerball executives in the 27 states, the District and Virgin Islands established the $25 million Powerball limitation after the last record $314.9 million Powerball was won by Andrew Jackson “Jack” Whittaker Jr., of Scott Depot, W.Va., on Christmas Eve 2002

“The public wanted bigger jackpots faster,” said Robert Hainey, Powerball spokesman for the District. “Why give all the money to one person?”

A winning ticket in last night’s drawing is worth $164 million in cash or annual annuities for 30 years. The winner has 60 days to decide to take cash or annuities.

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