September 3, 2014

Elyria
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Four tickets win big in Mega Millions

NOTTINGHAM, Md. — Four winning tickets were sold for the estimated $330 million Mega Millions jackpot, one each in Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, lottery officials said Saturday. “It wasn’t me!” one disappointed customer shouted Saturday morning at Walther Liquors, the Nottingham store where Maryland Lottery officials said one of the tickets was sold.

No one had come forward Saturday to claim a share of the top prize. In Virginia, at least, that can’t happen until Tuesday because the Virginia Lottery offices are closed for the long holiday weekend, spokesman John Hagerty said.

The odds that any ticket would match all five numbers — 8, 18, 22, 40 and 44 — and the Mega Ball number — 11 — drawn Friday night were one in 176 million.

If estimates of the jackpot hold true, it would be the fourth largest in the lottery’s history. It was known as The Big Game when it awarded jackpots of $363 million in 2000 and $331 million in 2002.

According to preliminary calculations, each ticket would be worth about $82 million if the prize were taken in 26 annual payments. If taken in one lump sum payment, the payout would be $48,615,188.

Maryland lottery officials delivered a large but fake $330 million check to Walther Liquors on Saturday, and Michael Leggett, son of owners Christine and John Ebmeier, posed with it for photos.

“Business was slammin’ ” as people bought tickets for Friday’s drawing, Leggett said. He and his girlfriend and his parents sold 875 tickets Friday, up from an average of about 200, they said.

State Lottery Director Buddy Roogow said whoever bought the winning ticket at Walther Liquors purchased five quick-pick tickets, costing a total of $5.

“You have a better chance of being hit by lightning at the same place and time every day for a week” than winning Mega Millions, Roogow said.

Virginia’s winning ticket was sold at Ducks Corner Food and Gas in Buckingham, in the central part of the state, Hagerty said.