Record $24 million awaits lottery winner

Ticket bought at package store in Woodlawn

March 19, 2001|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

If you bought a ticket in Woodlawn for Saturday's Classic Lotto drawing, you might want to double-check the numbers.

For the first time since June, someone picked all six numbers in the Maryland Lottery's Classic Lotto game, winning a record jackpot of $24 million. The ticket was sold at Hertsch's Package Goods and Tavern on Gwynn Oak Avenue in Woodlawn.

"Whoever has it, I hope they're taking extra special care of it," said Buddy Roogow, Lottery director.

The buyer of the winning ticket - 02, 19, 23, 32, 37, 42 - can redeem it beginning today at the Lottery's headquarters at Reisterstown Road Plaza, 6776 Reisterstown Road, for the biggest jackpot in the game's 18-year history. The winner has 182 days to turn in the ticket.

At Hertsch's, bar owner Michael Pizanis said yesterday at least one patron was telling people that a group of about 24 workers from the Social Security Administration had pooled their money, bought tickets and landed the winning numbers. Pizanis wasn't sure if that was the case, but he said the bar was enjoying the spotlight.

"We've put the place on the map right now from selling the winning ticket, so it's been a lot of fun," Pizanis said. "A lot of people have enjoyed it."

The buyer selected the cash-out option, which will award about $13.4 million after 35 percent is taken out in taxes, making the winner the 483rd person to become a millionaire from the game. If the annuity amount had been chosen, the winner would have been paid the $24 million, minus taxes, over 25 years.

About 1.5 million tickets were sold for the drawing. Each ticket, which cost $1, contained two six-digit entries.

The jackpot had been building from its $1 million base since the lottery was won for $15 million in June. The growth was slow until last month, when interest in the game increased, Roogow said.

"Ever since it reached $20 million, sales have gone up dramatically," he said.

The previous record jackpot of $21 million was won by David Moreland of Lothian in 1991. The biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, $363 million, was won May 9 in the seven-state Big Game drawing and shared by a Detroit-area man and a Chicago-area family of five.

Most of the proceeds from the Maryland Lottery are deposited in the state general fund for programs such as education, public health, public safety and human resources. Last year, the lottery contributed more than $377.8 million, 32.1 percent of its gross revenue, to the fund and $23.25 million to the Maryland Stadium Authority.

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