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Powerball becomes Georgias newest major lottery
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Maya Patel shows off a Powerball ticket at his Texaco at Lakeshore business on Dawsonville Highway. - photo by Tom Reed

A little after noon Sunday, Akbar Dhannani hadn’t sold any Powerball tickets at his store, J&S Food Mart, off Thompson Bridge Road.

But he is hopeful that’ll change soon, as Powerball is a new player on Georgia’s lottery scene.

“When the jackpot is big, people like to play,” said Dhannani.

Sales began Sunday for Powerball, which joins Mega Millions as Georgia’s other multistate lottery.

Powerball tickets are $1 per play, and drawings will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The current estimated jackpot is $107 million, according to Powerball’s Web site.

“Adding Powerball is an exciting opportunity to provide our players with more chances to win large jackpots and to yield new revenue for lottery-funded HOPE Scholarships and (pre-kindergarten),” said Margaret DeFrancisco, Georgia Lottery Corp.’s president and CEO.

Mega Millions drawings will continue to be held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Mega Millions began on Aug. 31, 1996, as the Big Game, with Georgia and five other states participating.

By June 2005, 12 states began participating in the game.

And Sunday, 23 more state lotteries joined Mega Millions in a cross-selling agreement between Mega Millions and Powerball.

DeFrancisco says lottery officials want to see how cross-selling goes before focusing on establishing a national lottery, which they hope to have running by spring 2011.

Maya Patel, owner of Texaco at Lakeshore on Dawsonville Highway, said as of noon Sunday he had sold $68 in Powerball tickets so far.

He was surprised. “Normally, Sunday is a quiet day. Not many play ... any lotteries that early (in the day).”

Patel said he didn’t expect one multistate lottery pulling business away from the other. “I think it’s going to be good because their drawings are on separate days,” he said.

Dhannani agreed, saying he also believes the two lotteries will stir up more business.

“People will buy both,” he said. “... People love to gamble. It’s just fun. The more they win, the more they play.”

Patel said that, perhaps because of the weakened economy, lottery sales had been quiet for the past couple of months.

“But, last week, it started picking up,” he said. “People are starting to get their tax refunds. Friday, I had my second-highest sales in four-year history.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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