Mega dreams rise with jackpot, winner in New York - East Valley Tribune: West Valley

Mega dreams rise with jackpot, winner in New York

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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:00 am | Updated: 8:02 pm, Mon Mar 28, 2011.

Mega Millions created its own brand of March Madness, with a jackpot that raised the roof at an estimated $312 million for Friday’s drawing.

Sales were so brisk that officials in the Mega Millions states revised the jackpot estimate from $304 million to the current $312 million.

Business at Greenway Family Auto Service on 99th Avenue and Greenway Road has been bustling for days, said Kari Pitts, a clerk in the convenience store.

“We’ve had people coming in who say they’ve never bought a lottery ticket before,” she said.

One of those people was Tiffany Teague, who bought two tickets Friday morning for a secretary in her office.

“She does so much for me I thought it would be nice to buy some lottery tickets for her,” she said. “I don’t play the lottery at all, normally.”

Trish Titcombe came all the way from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to play the Mega Millions. Sort of.

“I’m here visiting my parents,” she said. “They have a home here. And I saw on the news this morning that the lottery was up past $300 million so I thought, ‘What the heck?’ We never get jackpots this high in Canada.”

Pitts said the crowds always get bigger as the lottery numbers climb higher.

“Oh, absolutely. Everybody wants to live that American dream,” she said.

“We’re seeing excitement from coast to coast in the 43 jurisdictions in which Mega Millions is played,” said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director and Mega Millions Group Director Gary Grief.  “Along with that excitement, we encourage players to have fun and play responsibly.”

Although no ticket matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s drawing, more than 1.9 million tickets won prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million.

A New York lottery official says a winning ticket for the Mega Millions lottery jackpot worth $319 million has been sold at a variety store in Albany, N.Y.

New York Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman says the winning jackpot ticket for Friday's drawing was sold at Coulson's News Center, located just a few blocks from the state Capitol.

Hapeman says final sales numbers raised the annuity value of the prize to $319 million, with a cash value of $202.9 million.

According to the Mega Millions website, the jackpot is the fifth-largest in the game's history. The biggest jackpot was $390 million in March 2007.

It ranks as the largest jackpot for a single winning ticket in the game's history, eclipsing the $315 million prize sold in California in November 2005.

Hapeman says the earliest the winner can claim the prize is Monday, because lottery offices are closed for the weekend.

The winning numbers in Friday's drawing were: 22-24-31-52-54, with a Mega ball of 4.

Hapeman says the holder of the winning jackpot ticket has the option of taking prize over 25 years or as a cash payout.

Players have to correctly pick all five winning numbers plus the Mega Ball to win the jackpot, which is expected to be at $12 million for Tuesday's drawing.

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