Despite $125 million prize, stores report little interest.
By Sharon Jayson
Friday, December 26, 2003
Even the lure of the biggest jackpot in Texas history didn't seem to draw many people from their Christmas celebrations to Austin convenience stores Thursday. Because no one in any of the 11 Mega Millions states won Tuesday's $100 million prize, $125 million awaits a
lucky ticket holder for tonight's drawing.
Although many of the people who stopped at convenience stores Thursday were mainly stocking up on groceries, some did take a gamble. Jennifer Inglis Hudson went to the Corner Store on Far West Boulevard for milk and decided to buy a Mega Millions ticket, too. "Actually, I thought if I won, I could do some charitable things with it -- today being Christmas," she said.
There was a bit of Mega Millions fever in the morning at the 7-Eleven at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Guadalupe Street. Four times the usual number of tickets were sold before noon, said Chad Schulle, a store manager. But the afternoon slowdown hit and so did ticket sales,
Other convenience stores reported no Mega Millions fever. "I sold two today," Valerie Olalde said of the Mega Millions tickets that she had sold by early afternoon at the 7-Eleven at Burnet Road and Koenig Lane. "It's slow for all the lotto -- not just for Mega Millions."
It won't be until sometime today before officials know how much is at stake for the next drawing on Tuesday if no one wins tonight's jackpot, said Kristina Tirloni, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery Commission. Texas began participating in Mega Millions Dec. 3.
No winners in Mega Millions
Friday draw worth $125 million
By Ken Herman
Thursday, December 25, 2003
So many hopes. So many dreams. So many foolproof systems for picking winning numbers. So many losers.
In a real-world reminder about the true meaning of 135 million-to-1 odds, nobody in any of the 11 Mega Millions states hit the $100 million jackpot Tuesday night. The result: a $125 million jackpot for the Friday night drawing and another round of hopes, dreams and foolproof systems for picking winning numbers.
The biggest winner in Texas was the buyer of a ticket in Terrell, east of Dallas, that matched five numbers but not the all-important Mega Ball. Matching five numbers produces a $175,000 prize, second highest to the jackpot. (Comment by Dawn Nettles - For those who are playing for a prize of $175,000, I would advise them to play Texas 2 Step. You could win $200,000+ and it's odds are much better than Mega Millions.)
The ticket sold in Terrell is worth $700,000 because the buyer plunked down an extra buck for the "Megaplier," a feature that multiplies the prize by the amount on a special ball. The Megaplier ball came up as a four on Tuesday night, quadrupling the $175,000.
Overall, optimistic Texans spent more than $4.6 million on Mega Millions tickets for the Tuesday drawing, including $3.1 million on Tuesday.
Though the $100 million jackpot was the largest ever offered in Texas, Tuesday's sales came nowhere near the state record for lottery ticket sales in a day.
In March 2001, $30 million worth of Lotto Texas tickets were sold on the day that Austin police officer Robert Chody won an $85 million prize, the largest ever given away in the state lottery.
(Additional comment added by Dawn Nettles - The Lotto Report: For the $85 million jackpot, they sold 50.5 million tickets in 3 days. For a $77 million jackpot in 1994, they sold 51.9 million tickets in 3 days. Now they have a $100 million jackpot, and they barely sell $4 million tickets in 3 days.)
Texas Lottery Commission spokesman Bobby Heith said Wednesday that the state's players may not yet be familiar with Mega Millions, which began in Texas on Dec. 3.
(Additional comment added by Dawn Nettles - The Lotto Report: Baloney - Players know about the game but we also understand that it's a game intended to roll - in otherwords, it far from winnable - there's 135 million combinations - how can we pick the one that will win? We don't play these odds to win $2 either so, why should we play the game?)
Lottery commissioners this year picked Mega Millions over Powerball, the other major multistate game, in part because of a belief that Mega Millions' Tuesday and Friday drawings would conflict less with Lotto Texas' Wednesday and Saturday drawings. Powerball drawings are on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Read another editorial that
appeared in the Standard Times (12/23)
Shows how they originally projected the
jackpots to increase ... but they were way off!