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LOTTERY State-line frenzy: Big jackpots in Ohio, Pa. draw extra players



Published: Tue, July 10, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



It's been more than 10 years since the Ohio Lottery jackpot exceeded $50 million.

By SEAN BARRON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

You can buy lottery tickets for jackpots now worth $29 million or $54 million, depending on which side of Shirley Libeg's store you're on.

The red line painted on the Penn-Ohio Medicine Mart's floor tells lottery-ticket buyers which state they're in.

It also means Libeg gets plenty of customers from Ohio and Pennsylvania hoping to become millionaires.

Libeg is preparing one side of her store for Wednesday's $54 million Ohio Super Lotto Plus drawing, the largest in the lottery's 27-year history. On the Pennsylvania side of her store, customers can buy Super 6 tickets, one of which could be worth $29 million, now the nation's second-highest lottery jackpot.

Few people bought tickets Monday, but Libeg said she expects the situation to change tomorrow. Libeg added she may have an extra worker on hand to handle last-minute ticket buyers.

"We're busy all the time," she said. "We keep the line moving."

Options: Libeg's customers have a chance to match the six numbers to be drawn Wednesday evening. The winner could walk away with more than $16 million or receive $1.23 million a year for 30 years.

Libeg added she also expects those who rarely play to add to the lines. To avoid long waits, she urged people to buy ahead.

Lines began forming early Monday at the Lucky Lotto in the Southern Park Mall before it opened, said Nicole Zentko, manager. Zentko said the store plans to have an extra employee -- something normally done Saturdays -- to handle Wednesday's anticipated high volume.

Mall officials may also bring in ropes to separate the long lines, Zentko added.

Lucky Lotto averages between $12,000 and $15,000 in lottery payouts each week, meaning that total amount of winning tickets is sold, said Charles Muth, owner.

At the Giant Eagle in the Salem Plaza, owner Mark Siegal said he doesn't expect any unusually long lines. Siegal said he thinks those who play the lottery will simply buy more tickets than normal.

"I don't think it will be anything that we haven't seen before," he predicted.

Increasing: June 2 was the last time someone matched all six numbers. Since then, the jackpot has continued to increase, said Mike Bycko, Ohio Lottery spokesman.

"It begins at $4 million every time someone hits," he explained. He also said the jackpot increases by at least $1 million each day that no one gets all the numbers.

Bycko predicted Wednesday's drawing will mean increased ticket sales statewide.

The $54 million amount should also entice marginal and infrequent ticket buyers to try to beat the odds. Both categories of people play the lottery only when the payoff is unusually high, Bycko explained.

The second highest Ohio Lottery winning was a $50 million ticket sold in October 1990 to an Erie, Pa., resident. That's also the last time winnings exceeded $50 million, Bycko said.

Lottery machines close at 7:25 p.m. Wednesday; the drawing will be at 7:29 p.m. The event will be shown live on WYTV Channel 33.

barron@vindy.com




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