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The winning Big Game numbers are...

$325 million jackpot up for grabs

Big Game baby
Preston Cortellesso, 6 months, watches his great grandmother, Ann Cortellesso, pick her numbers for the Big Game lottery in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Millions of people checked their lottery tickets late Tuesday to see if they had winning numbers in the $325 million Big Game lottery -- the second-largest prize in U.S. history.

The numbers were 26, 27, 25, 7, 10 and the "big money ball" was 23.

Statisticians say a person is more likely to die from any number of strange and horrible twists of fate than to actually win, but that did not stop people from lining up at newstands, gas stations and stores for a chance to become a multimillionaire

Georgia Lottery President Rebecca Paul estimated that retailers in her state would sell as many 1.5 million tickets per hour Tuesday. She said lottery officials in the seven Big Game states expected to have sold 150 million tickets since Friday's drawing.

CNN's Sean Callebs joins the lines in Augusta, Georgia, to buy a chance on winning a reported $325 million Big Game lottery jackpot (April 15)

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Big Game lottery states 

At a tiny newsstand inside Atlanta's Omni Hotel, the possibility of becoming a multimillionaire found lottery players penciling in lucky numbers as they snaked their way through a line.

Peachtree Newsstand owner Won Kim fed ticket after ticket into a constantly clicking machine bearing a handwritten sign, "the Big Game: $325 million."

"I expect to sell more than 10,000 tickets today," Kim said. "It makes money!"

In Arlington, Virginia, 7-Eleven convenience store manager Khedija Beniloud, 35, said business has been so brisk that she has dedicated a clerk to doing nothing all day but feeding the ticket machine. "And I still have to help him," she added.

Beniloud said one of her customers had won a lottery ticket already Tuesday, paying out $200. "Maybe I will buy some -- $40 or $35 -- for myself," she said.

Would she quit her job if she won the jackpot? "No," she said, "I love my job. No, no."

Atlanta restaurant worker Lee Arthur, 42, said he doesn't usually buy lottery tickets. "Only when it's like this," he said. "I'm spending $20 or $30 worth."

When asked what he plans to do with the money should he win, Arthur said he might buy a house and give some to the homeless. "I might split it up with friends, too," he said.

The Big Game pools money from tickets sold in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, but it also attracts players from neighboring states.

Bernie Conner drove more than three hours from Orlando, Florida, to St. Mary's, Georgia, near the state line, for a chance to get rich.

"I said I'm off. If you want to get in, let's see how many will do it," Conner said. "They all gave me $5 each for five quick picks and a dollar for gas. So it gives me a tank of gas up and back."

A mere $12.5 million a year

Big Game players have a less than a one-in-76-million chance of matching the all six numbers needed to win the jackpot.

A sobering thought: The odds of being killed by fireworks are about one in 21.8 million and the odds of being killed by a dog bite are about one in 18 million.

A person is more than 17 times more likely to be killed by lightning this year than to win the jackpot.

Since the odds of winning are so slim, lottery officials urged people to play responsibly.

"It only takes one ticket to win. Don't bet the ranch on it," Paul said.

The winner will get $325 million only if he or she is willing to have it doled out over 26 years at $12.5 million a year.

Uncle Sam will take 27 percent of that amount, leaving a meager $9.1 million a year, or $236.6 million. And that's all before state taxes kick in, which range from 3 percent in Illinois to 7 percent in Maryland.

If a winner wants the money in a lump sum, he or she will get a lot less -- $174 million, or $127 million after federal taxes.

If more than one winning ticket is sold, the Big Game players will share the jackpot.

Of course, the biggest winners from the Big Game lottery are the states that sell tickets. The states take in about $2 billion a year each in lottery revenue, and about $200 million, or 10 percent, of that comes from Big Game ticket sales alone.

Paul said there is a 90 percent chance that someone will win the jackpot Tuesday, but if not, the jackpot is expected to grow to a record $400 million. writer Thom Patterson contributed to this report.


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