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Powerball hits largest jackpot in game’s history

Powerball offers 2 payment options

POSTED: November 27, 2012 11:59 p.m.

The Georgia Lottery announced Tuesday that the Powerball jackpot climbed to $500 million, the largest in the game’s history, for tonight’s drawing.

According to lottery officials, the jackpot jumped from a hefty $425 million to $500 million “as a result of brisk ticket sales.” The jackpot is one of the largest in Georgia history, second only to March’s world-record $656 million Mega Millions game jackpot.

Since Oct. 6, Powerball’s jackpot earnings have rolled 15 times.

Milan Patel, a manager at Texaco on Dawsonville Highway, said his store sells more lottery tickets than normal when the game’s jackpot reaches record highs.

“When it’s a big jackpot, we have a lot of people come in,” said Patel, who added that customers buy as many as five or more tickets when the stakes increase. “People want more tickets when the money is big.”

On Monday, retailers reported transaction problems in their systems that process tickets, resulting in an increased wait times for those playing Powerball. However, Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick said later in the day that terminal wait times had returned to normal.

While the lottery didn’t say how widespread the problem was at its 8,300 participating retailers, it did indicate that the slow processing could have been due to upgraded software the terminals had been downloading, along with an increased number of retailers logging into the system.

Although only having played the lottery a couple times in his life, J.C. Fricks bought his Powerball ticket Tuesday knowing his wife would ask why he hadn’t if he came home empty-handed.

“I never buy tickets, and I don’t gamble. My wife plays the scratch-off game, though, and I know she’ll want to know why I didn’t buy a ticket if I don’t get one,” said Fricks after paying $2 for the Powerball ticket, which doubled in price this January.

Gainesville resident Gustavo Mendoza buys two tickets to play the lottery each week. Despite the Powerball’s record-breaking jackpot, his tradition remained the same this week.

“I play every week and buy two tickets a week. For this jackpot, I still just bought two tickets,” said Mendoza.

And like many who dream of winning the lottery, Mendoza had tentative plans of how he would use the winnings.

In addition to helping pay for homes for his father and siblings, Mendoza would send a little money back home to help the less fortunate.

“I’m from a small town in Mexico that is very poor, so I would like to give some to help the people there,” he said.

Markus Schweitzer and his co-workers try to be strategic in increasing their odds of buying winning lottery tickets when the jackpot gets big. After willing participants contributed to a community lottery pool at his company, Schweitzer set out to buy 21 tickets from different gas stations around Gainesville.

“If I won the money, I’d have to share it with at least 21 other people,” said Schweitzer, referring to his co-workers who were in the pool.

Schweitzer also buys lottery tickets for family and friends in other countries, including his native Germany.

“The jackpot here is so much higher than it is in Germany,” he said. “My wife is from Chile, and we buy her parents that live there tickets. I also buy tickets for colleagues in Germany. We’ve just got to win now!”

Powerball offers two payment options: the jackpot prize paid in 30 graduated payments over the span of 29 years or a lump sum cash option of approximately $327 million, although the odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 175 million.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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