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Whopping lottery pot stirs frenzy for tickets

The Powerball jackpot, unclaimed since mid August, was up to $340-million Wednesday.

Associated Press
Published October 20, 2005


DES MOINES, Iowa - Ticket buyers played their kids' birthdays, their wedding anniversaries, even a set of numbers taken straight from the TV show Lost, in hopes of winning $340-million Wednesday in the second-biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

The Powerball jackpot has been snowballing since mid August, with 20 straight drawings in which no one won the grand prize. Stores reported heavy sales in all 27 states selling Powerball tickets.

"We're swimming in it today," said Marianne Ward at the Cash & Dash in Little River, S.C. "We've sold more than $2,000 in tickets since 6 a.m."

Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery, said hundreds of ticket buyers were playing a set of numbers from the ABC drama Lost, which featured a character who won $156-million by playing a string of digits obtained from a patient in a mental institution: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.

"I just think it speaks to people's fascination with numbers and the what-if factor," Neubauer said.

The odds of hitting all six numbers were 1 in 146-million.

The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was $363-million, won by two ticket holders in 2000.

[Last modified October 20, 2005, 01:20:19]


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