- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thousands of area residents hoping for a shot at the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history continued filing into stores yesterday to buy potential winning tickets.

Buyers started crowding ticket windows in convenience stores and elsewhere in the District, 27 states and U.S. Virgin Islands after no Powerball winner was declared Wednesday night and the jackpot swelled to $365 million. The next drawing will be tomorrow night.

Though nobody was an outright six-digit Powerball winner, 16 persons in Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin each won $200,000 for picking the first five numbers.

“I only play when it gets, like, this big,” James Glaspie, 26, of Anne Arundel County, said upon emerged from Takoma Park Liquor. The small store on Eastern Avenue in Northeast has three cashier windows to dispense the $1 tickets.

Cashier Tonja Clark, who has been on the job eight years, said that by tomorrow lines of buyers will form clear out to the street.

The jackpot is the biggest since 2000, when ticket holders in Illinois and Michigan won $363 million. The tickets were sold by Big Game, which became Mega Millions.

“I won $4 on the last game,” said Rafael Hylton, 53, of Upper Marlboro. “So, I added $40 and got $44 worth of tickets this time. I’m going to win.”

Playing the lottery is a hobby for Mr. Hylton who has played multimillion-dollar lotteries while traveling to New York and London.

Three blocks away, a few hopefuls were in Shop-Rite Liquors in Takoma Park on New Hampshire Avenue in Maryland, most of them buying tickets for the $145 million Mega Millions drawing tonight. Tickets are available in Maryland, Virginia and 10 other states.

“We had quite a big day Tuesday,” clerk Richard Kirby said. “And we probably will have another one today. Folks from everywhere. People come in and buy them by the $100s.”

Lennie Horton, 66, who lives near Walter Reed Army Medical Center, compared buying lottery tickets to playing the stock market.

“I use certain numbers each week,” he said. “In Virginia one year, I won three times out of six.”

He was uncertain about what he would do with the jackpot but had some ideas. Mr. Horton has been retired for 11 years from the U.S. Postal Service and has discovered that idle time can be tedious.

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