Originally created 04/13/02

Buyers line up for chance at huge prize

Mildred Goolsby had the cure Friday for the epidemic of Big Game fever sweeping across Georgia.

Ms. Goolsby, the owner of Mildred's Lottery and Riverwatch Convenience Store at 13th and Reynolds streets, was selling tickets for Friday night's $220 million multistate lottery drawing as fast as her four machines could print them.

"It's been nonstop since 8 a.m. this morning," Ms. Goolsby said as a line of hopefuls queued to buy Quick Picks. "You clear things out, and then they come back in."

The store had sold about 5,400 tickets by 2 p.m., Ms. Goolsby said. Bus loads of people had traveled from as far as Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina to buy a chance at the jackpot, she said.

"Everybody wants to win," Ms. Goolsby said. "With all that money, a lot of people could win and still be happy."

Tyrone Watson, of Aiken, who already had bought one ticket, waited to buy a few more for good luck. He said he would be generous if he won the jackpot, giving money to his church, family and friends.

"With all the people I've been associated with, I'd be sure they got a little piece of it," Mr. Watson said. "I'd let them be debt-free for one time in life, and then give them a piece of money to do something with."

Of course, a celebration also would be in order, Mr. Watson said.

"I'd have one of the best parties that's ever been," he said. "I'm 60, and I've never had a birthday party. I'd have one that couldn't be topped."

Defying astronomical odds for a shot at unimaginable riches, lottery players in seven states snapped up Big Game tickets Friday in the final hours before a $220 million drawing.

But to bring their dreams to life, players such as Mr. Watson had to beat odds of 76 million to one. To claim the jackpot, a player must correctly pick five numbers from 1 to 50, plus a Big Money Ball from 1 to 36.

The jackpot has been snowballing since early February. At $220 million, it is the second-largest Big Game prize ever, behind the $363 million record, won in 2000.

If no one wins the Friday night jackpot, the prize is expected to swell to $300 million for the next drawing Tuesday.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.


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