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Mega Millions, Powerball reach hefty jackpots

Lottery games have $244 million and $101 million jackpots

POSTED: March 21, 2011 11:23 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Misty Young processes a Mega Millions lottery ticket Monday at the Chevron station on E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville.

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After cuts earlier this month to the state's lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program, the game is getting much attention this week.

It still pumps money into students' hands to attend college, but today and Wednesday it likely will award someone else with a boatload of cash.

Mega Millions has an estimated $244 million jackpot for tonight's drawing and Powerball has reached a jackpot of $101 million for Wednesday's drawing.

Donald Grant of Flowery Branch said if he won the money, he'd give some back to the students.

"I would contribute a significant share to education," he said, adding that he would like to use funding to provide students a college education.

Education costs have outpaced lottery sales in recent years, and now only the top tier of students will still get full tuition from the scholarship.

Other HOPE recipients will only get 90 percent of the current tuition amount.

Grant has won the lottery once before. And this time he said education could see a boost if he wins.

Grant won the $1 million jackpot in the World Class
Millions scratch-off game two years ago.

He said he used his winnings to pay off debt, buy a house, invest in retirement and donate to charity.

"I also bought a Ford Taurus X," he said.

His main focus for another win would be to "call it a day and retire," he said.

Grant added he has been following the changes to the HOPE scholarship, but wants more to go toward education.

"I would feel better if I knew 90 cents of every $1 goes to HOPE," he said. "I think a lion's share should go to education."

Other Gainesville residents mentioned they would like to pay off debt or invest if they saw success in the lotto.

William Hollingsworth, a Gainesville lawyer, said he would move his law practice to the downtown square for better business, before traveling the world.

"I wouldn't waste the money. I think I could handle it," he added.

Tickets per play for both games are $1. For Mega Millions, players pick six numbers, five from numbers 1-56 and one from 1-46, according to the Mega Millions website.

To win the jackpot, ticket buyers must hit all six numbers. If there is no jackpot winner, the pot keeps growing.

Powerball offers two payment options: the jackpot prize paid over 29 years in 30 graduated payments or the cash option, which is about $51 million.

The Mega Millions drawing is at 11 p.m. today and Powerball is at 11 p.m. Wednesday.


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