Cumberland Times-News

February 20, 2013

Lottery luck?

Odds that you’ll win are less than you might think

Cumberland Times-News

— Western Maryland residents who play the state lottery have been on a roll in recent weeks so it may be tempting to think picking lottery numbers is an easy path to wealth. The truth, of course, is that there are very few winners and countless losers.

The newest instant millionaire is someone who bought a Mega Millions ticket at the Mt. Airy Shell in Frederick County. If someone steps forward to claim the prize, it will be worth either $26 million through an annuity or an outright cash payment of $19 million. The winner has 180 days to claim the prize.

Five other big winning tickets have been sold in the west end of the state since Jan. 21.

They are:

• $1 million second-tier Powerball win from Feb. 9, claimed by a Middletown man and sold at the Fountaindale Service Center in Middletown (Frederick County).

• $625,000 Multi-Match jackpot win from Feb. 11,  claimed by a Sharpsburg woman and sold at the Boonsboro Exxon in Boonsboro (Washington County).

• $575,000 Multi-Match jackpot win from Jan. 21, claimed by a Hagerstown man and sold at Roxy Liquors in Hagerstown (Washington County).

• $30,000 Crack the Code scratch-off win from Jan. 31, claimed by a Sharpsburg man and sold at Battleview Market in Sharpsburg (Washington County).

• $25,000 Cash Word scratch-off win from Feb. 7,  claimed by Dustin Twigg from Cumberland and sold at Martin’s store No. 003 in Cumberland.

The Mega Millions game is played in 44 states, including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

The Maryland Lottery said that since its inception in 1973, it has awarded more than $19.8 billion in prizes to players and $12.8 billion in revenue to the State of Maryland. One of Maryland’s largest revenue sources, the Lottery boasts that it supports important state programs and services including education, public safety and health, human resources and the environment.

Although Western Maryland players have been on a hot streak as of late, it is still worth repeating that playing the lottery is usually a losing proposition for the overwhelming majority of players. The odds are greater that you will be struck by lightning than hit a mega-millions jackpot.

That’s a statement you’ll never hear from a lottery salesman.