ATLANTA – Big Game lottery players checked over their tickets Tuesday night after the winning numbers were drawn for the $325 million jackpot: 7, 10, 25, 26 and 27. The Big Money Ball number was 23.
Lottery officials were expected to announce early Wednesday whether anyone won the big jackpot.
Would-be fatcats flocked to delis, grocery stores and gas stations in search of the big-money prize leading up to the 11:00 p.m. EST drawing. If it goes to one person, it will be the second-larget payout in U.S. lottery history. In 2000, two Big Game winners split $363 million.
"I'd retire. I'd buy a house and maybe a fishing boat," Darryl Hutchinson said as he prepared to buy 10 tickets at a gas station in Roanoke, Va.
The jackpot in the seven-state game played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia climbed another $25 million Monday after strong sales over the weekend.
Vendors in the Chicago area told reporters earlier in the day the would-be millionaires were standing in line for as long as two hours for a chance to make their picks. But the wait could well be worth it.
A single winner could take the cash over 26 years or accept a one-time $174 million payout — with at least one-third of that taken out for taxes, of course. Players must pick the payout option when buying the ticket.
The odds of winning are 1 in 76 million. And those are long odds. A dreamer looking to win Big Game lottery is 16 times more likely to get killed driving to the gas station to buy a ticket.
It's also thousands of times more likely the Earth will be destroyed by a meteorite than that one of Hutchinson's tickets will be a winner, according to probability expert Les Krantz. And a person's chance of being hit by lightning in a lifetime is 1 in 9,100 — more than 8,000 times more likely than being the next Big Game winner, Krantz said.
But those figures didn't deter Glenn Gosselin, who reasoned that you have to play to have any chance of winning at all. He bought a ticket at Neighborhood Food Store in Springfield, Mass., where the Big Game line wound from the cash register to the door.
"If you don't have a ticket, your odds drop to zero," he said.
Still, eighteen drawings in a row have been held without anyone hitting the jackpot, just an indication of just how long those odds are.
"It's greed. Greed clouds good judgment," Krantz said.
Naturally, he'd bought a ticket too.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.