Big Game Jackpot Up to $230 Million

Friday, May 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) — Ticket buyers plunked down more money than expected for tonight's Big Game drawing and officials increased the jackpot estimate to $230 million, the second largest in U.S. history.

Although it won't approach the record $295.7 million Powerball jackpot, it was the biggest prize ever for the seven-state Big Game.

``I'm just playing because it's so high. I hardly ever play otherwise,'' said Lisa Gray of Alpine, Ala., She drove 40 miles to Tallapoosa, Ga., and stood in a line of 30 people to buy tickets today. ``I think it's good. It gives everybody a little chance to better themselves and it don't cost a whole lot.''

Despite his store's chance at $10,000 for selling the winning ticket, manager Joanne Farinetti of Crack Pot Liquors in Towson, Md., is no fan of the lottery.

``With the long lines, I think it's a pain in the butt,'' she said. ``It's so time-consuming. You really don't make so much money with the lottery if you're a store.''

Any Georgia retailer who sells the winning ticket gets $25,000. The bonuses for the other states vary, but the amount would be similar, said Parquita Nassau, spokeswoman for the Georgia Lottery Corp., which administers the game.

Locations in Maryland and Georgia also get 5 cents for every $1 ticket sold. With the jackpot up to $230 million, lottery customers often buy nothing but tickets, while regular — and more profitable — customers stay away because of long lines.

The odds of getting all five numbers and the money ball in tonight's drawing is one in more than 76 million.

A store owner says sales for the lottery have been astonishing.

The game is played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia.