- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

Tonight’s Powerball jackpot is $203 million, but D.C. Lottery officials are waiting for the winner of a smaller fortune to come forward.

The Oct. 19, 2005, drawing — which featured a jackpot of $340 million — produced two winning tickets in the District. One was claimed by U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who won $853,492 by matching five numbers.

The District’s other five-number winning ticket has yet to be redeemed — and time is running out, lottery officials say.

“We’ve been waiting for this individual to come in,” D.C. Lottery spokesman Robert Hainey said. “We thought they’d wait for a new tax year, but we haven’t seen them. We’re hoping they didn’t throw the ticket away.”

If the winner hasn’t claimed the cash by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 19, the funds will be distributed among the jurisdictions where Powerball is played — 29 states, the District and the Virgin Islands. The winning numbers were 7, 21, 43, 44 and 49, and Powerball was 29.

The District’s lottery claims office is in the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 2000 14th St. NW.

Large jackpots often attract new players who are unaware of how the game is played and who might throw away tickets if they don’t match all of the numbers, Mr. Hainey said.

“Be sure to check your tickets after the game,” he said. “If you match a few numbers, you can still win.”

Mike Jeffries will be sure to check his numbers, probably more than once.

Mr. Jeffries, a driver for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, has bought lottery tickets for more than a decade. He plays D.C. lottery games three times a week, but only plays Powerball when the jackpot reaches $200 million.

“I’m not a compulsive gambler,” he said. “I have better success when I play anything related to my kids or family — numbers, birthdays, anniversaries.”

Mr. Jeffries frequents the same service station on New York Avenue Northeast where Mr. Gregg bought his winning ticket last year.

“We ask people to always play responsibly,” Mr. Hainey said. “Never play more than you can afford.”

Mr. Jeffries said that he has a lottery budget of $150 per week and has won as much as $5,000.

He also keeps all of his tickets so he can report any earnings on his taxes.

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