$640 million Mega Millions jackpot would go a long way
If Betty Atkinson’s numbers are called in tonight’s drawing for the Mega Millions lottery, one thing is for sure.
“At my age, I’m taking the one-time payout,” said Atkinson, 68, of North Charleston. “I’m not sure I’ve got 30 years left.”
The jackpot stood at $640 million Thursday, making it the largest ever. A winner could choose to take a one-time cash payment of $389 million. The 30-year payout has not yet been figured, a lottery spokesman said.
Asked what she would do with the money, Atkinson had a quick answer.
“What wouldn’t I do with it?” she said. “Half a billion is enough that you can take care of yourself and spread it around a little too.”
Atkinson said she buys lottery tickets infrequently, but opted to pick up two Thursday while filling her car with gas.
“There’s no need for you to buy one,” she told Antwan Jennings, the customer behind her, as she left the store. “I’ve got the winning numbers.”
Jennings, who plays every week, said he doubted it, but wished her luck. The odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 175.7 million.
“I’m sure it would be nice to win $389 million, but I’d take even a million or two,” he said. “That could cure a lot of problems.”
He said he needs a new vehicle and has some debts to pay off.
“After that, I’d probably go on a nice, long vacation,” he said.
This jackpot has been growing since Jan. 24, when Mega Millions had its most recent winner. The jackpot has now rolled 18 times without a winner.
Nationally, more than 4.7 million tickets won prizes in Tuesday’s drawing, including four tickets that each won $1 million and 43 tickets that each won $250,000. In South Carolina, a York retailer sold a ticket worth $250,000.
“Sales are really brisk right now,” said S.C. Education Lottery spokeswoman Holli Armstrong. Sales on Wednesday were $702,350, and Armstrong said she expected even higher numbers Thursday and today.?Mega Millions is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Tickets for the drawing are available at lottery retailers statewide. They cost $1, and must be purchased by 10 p.m. for today’s 11 p.m. drawing.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713.