Originally created 08/01/98

Chief maintains Powerball stance

ATLANTA -- Some Georgians may have felt a little bitter about not getting a shot at this week's more than $295 million dollar Powerball jackpot.

Georgia Lottery's president says the state, which pulled out of the game two years ago in favor of the Big Game, wins in the long run.

"If you continue to raise the bar higher and higher, the long-term impact is negative for raising money for programs that you fund," Rebecca Paul said.

With recent Powerball jackpots of $195 million and $295 million, Ms. Paul said lottery players might postpone ticket buying to wait for huge payouts to build up.

The result would be an overall decline in sales, which could hurt lottery-funded programs such as the HOPE scholarship, she said.

Ms. Paul said she has no regrets about the decision to leave Powerball.

In the Big Game, another multistate drawing, and other Georgia games, the state has "given Georgians the opportunity to play for $60 to $70 million jackpots," she said. "And we've had several winners."

But ticket sales for the Big Game haven't matched Powerball sales through August 1996, when the state withdrew. Big Game sales failed to reach the $1 million mark for 30 percent of the drawings in the past six months, while Powerball sales failed to reach that mark on just 4 percent of the drawings during the same period of 1996, an Atlanta newspaper said.

The decision to bail on Powerball came in 1996 because of concerns about the state's liability for other new games that Powerball states -- all considerably smaller than Georgia -- planned to launch. As long as Georgia was a member of the multistate lottery association which runs Powerball for 20 states, lawyers said it might be unable to escape liability for a new game.

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