Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Jackpot lures Powerball players


Cost of a ticket buys visions of warm vacation vistas

By Maggie Downs
Enquirer staff writer

Tony Roberts wants a house in a warm locale so he can play golf year-round.

Mary Buck plans to treat herself to a spa weekend and a major shopping spree.

And Ed Russell hopes to pick up some scuba gear and a long trip to the Caribbean to go with it.

"Maybe an island, too," he laughed.

One of them might get their wish after the Wednesday night Powerball drawing, with a jackpot that has climbed to $177 million.

The cash option will be an estimated $96.8 million.

If hit Wednesday, this would be the ninth largest Powerball jackpot ever.

Saturday's drawing was the 14th consecutive one without a jackpot winner since Aug. 18.

"Sometimes the jackpot gets too big to not play," said Russell, 24, of Bellevue. That was the case Monday when he picked up a couple dozen tickets at Party Source.

The top Powerball jackpot - $314,924,354 - was hit Dec. 25, 2002, by Jack Whittaker of Scotts Depot, W.Va.

Roberts said he got tickets at the Covington Sunoco on Monday to avoid the inevitable crowds.

The frequent player said every time the Powerball jackpot grows to more than $100 million, lines grow exponentially, too.

"I don't spend too much on this," he said. "Just a little, just in case."

Buck, 42, of Florence, will be keeping her fingers crossed during the drawing, hoping her $5 worth of tickets will pay off big.

"Somebody has to win," she said. "It might as well be me. The people you see on TV didn't get there by not playing."

About the drawing

If the Powerball jackpot is hit this week, it would be the ninth largest.

The drawing: Wednesday

The jackpot: $177 million ($96.8 million cash value)

The current run began: Aug. 18

Total winners during this run: 7,283,849 for a total of $60.7 million

Total sales during this time period: $289,906,906

Odds of winning the grand prize: 1 in 120,526,770

Since Jan. 1: The Powerball jackpot has been awarded seven times.

Source: The Multi-State Lottery Association

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E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com




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