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Big Game Jackpot Swells

ATLANTA -- No one hit the $220-million jackpot in Friday's multistate Big Game lottery drawing, which means Tuesday's rollover prize will be worth an estimated $300 million, one of the biggest purses in U.S. lottery history, officials said on Saturday.

Millions of people jammed convenience stores and gas stations in seven U.S. states to buy Big Game tickets and a chance at the jackpot that had been building for nine weeks without being won. The record for a U.S. lottery jackpot is $363 million, which was split between two winners two years ago. Interest in the Big Game, as the lottery is dubbed in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, swelled as the countdown to the 11 p.m. drawing drew closer.

Ticket sales, which tend to be strongest near state lines where residents of non-lottery states drive to buy tickets, were heavy across all seven states which participate in the popular lottery, in which players choose six numbers corresponding to those on balls randomly spit out from a drum.

New Jersey, which draws bettors from neighboring New York, the nation's largest metropolis, was invaded during the past few days by people itching to try out their lucky numbers.

Tom Rosenberg, spokesman for New Jersey State Lottery Commission, estimated 3,000 tickets were being sold every minute.
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