Lottery logic

Big Game: Planning and patience show that jackpot winners may be getting more analytical.

May 29, 1999

THE CIRCUMSPECT behavior of modern-day lottery winners almost makes you long for the days when spontaneity reigned. Not too long ago, winners could hardly wait to cash in and announce their plans.

Lately, jackpot ticket-holders have demonstrated unusual composure. Showered with a torrent of cash beyond their wildest dreams, these folks have resorted to logic. Instead of immediately jumping into the car and gunning the pedal to lottery headquarters, winners have stopped first to consult a financial planner or accountant.

A Boston baby sitter waited a week before claiming her $197 million prize in April, while she sought legal advice and her bearings.

Maryland Lottery Director Buddy R. Roogow suspects financial planning may explain why the winner of a state-record $60 million in the Big Game May 22 hasn't surfaced since buying the ticket at a BJ's Wholesale Club in Pasadena.

Although entering a pool with 76,000,000-to-1 odds doesn't make you an Einstein, it appears that lottery winners are getting smarter. For instance, both the Boston baby sitter and Saturday's winner in Pasadena elected to collect lump-sum payments: The Boston winner took home a cool $105 million. The lucky Maryland player gets $31.5 million immediately (before taxes) rather than 26 annual payments of $2.3 million.

Pub Date: 5/29/99

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