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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Dreams as big as lottery jackpot

April 17, 2002

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— Veado Johnson knows exactly how he would spend Tuesday night's $325 million Big Game lottery jackpot.

He'd buy a house and a couple of Bentleys and give some to charity.

Just one little detail: He has to win first.

Despite the long odds of winning 1 in 76 million lottery players lined up Tuesday to buy tickets for the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

The winning numbers drawn Tuesday night were 7, 10, 25, 26 and 27. The Big Money Ball number was 23. Lottery officials were expected to announce early today whether anyone won the big jackpot.

If he won, Johnson, 26, said, he'd choose the annuitized plan which would pay about $13 million annually for 26 years over a one-time payment of about $174 million. About one-third of each total would be taken out for taxes.

"I don't think I need it all at one time because I'd be a millionaire anyway, so I don't have to see it at one time," he said after buying his ticket in Atlanta. "As long as I know I got it coming."

Other players said they'd feel more comfortable taking one big check, giving reasons ranging from the perils of inflation to not trusting lottery officials.

A more common reason, though, was lottery players' fear that they wouldn't live to see the 26th payment.

Lottery officials said the annuitized payments continue to be paid to the players' estates or designated beneficiaries in the event they die before receiving all the money.

Still, most players had big plans for their winnings. Some said they would retire or take a more rewarding, lower-paying job such as teaching.

Roosevelt Walker, 30, said he would invest in the stock market as well as his community, building a youth center or a park. "Just help out with some stuff I wanted to do when I was growing up."

The Big Game is played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. In 2000, two Big Game winners split $363 million.

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