HARRISBURG, Pa. — Tickets for what could be North America's richest lottery were selling as fast as 19,140 a minute Wednesday, as dreamers waited in long lines for a shot at a $40 million-plus jackpot.
"It's crazy, absolutely crazy," said Bill Jones, proprietor of Deacon's News, a lottery outlet in Scranton that was selling tickets to a steady stream of bettors.
The winning numbers, drawn Wednesday night, were 6, 7, 10, 13, 19, 35, 55, 64, 65, 74 and 79. To win, a ticket must bear seven of the 11 numbers drawn. The odds of winning are about 1 in 10 million, according to lottery officials.
Because of the volume of ticket sales, officials said they would not know until today whether a winning ticket was sold or the exact amount of the jackpot.
Tony Johnson, a Philadelphia construction worker, said he waited in line nearly an hour to buy his $1 ticket. "I've got to at least try," he said.
Lottery officials had estimated total sales at 25 million tickets--an average of two for each Pennsylvania resident--for the Super 7 weekly drawing.
They announced late Tuesday that the purse would be worth at least $40 million--the state's largest jackpot yet--but added that heavier-than-expected sales on the day of the drawing would increase the total.
The record for a lottery jackpot in North America was set on Aug. 21, 1985, when three ticket-holders shared $41 million in the New York State Lottery.
Ticket Booths Added
Pennsylvania's Super 7 jackpot has been growing since Sept. 9, the last time there was a winner in the weekly game. With a $40-million jackpot, a single winner would receive 26 annual pre-tax payments of more than $1.5 million.
Jane Shafer, a lottery spokeswoman, said the rate of ticket sales at the 3,075 outlets across the state reached 19,140 a minute at noontime Wednesday.
Additional terminals were installed at 20 of the most popular outlets, Shafer said. At one outlet in Harrisburg, security guards were called in to control the crowd.
The buying crunch "was bad yesterday. It's bad today . . . and I don't even want to hear it if there's no winner tonight," said a frazzled clerk at Smithfield Street News in Pittsburgh.
At least one player said she wanted no more than a part of a $40-million prize.
"If I could win a couple of thousand, I'd be happy," said Anne Faulkner, 84, of Scranton, who bought five tickets. "I don't want to win it all. I'd have a heart attack."