$30 million windfall beckons Lotto fans

Herald staff

Tonight someone could turn thirtysomething.

That’s millions of dollars, not years.

The ever-growing state Lotto jackpot is at a record $30 million. And some lucky person could win it in the 7 p.m. drawing, thanks to the tens of thousands of other people who will lose.

The record jackpot also puts Washington into the top three states in the nation for lottery jackpots this week, bested by California at $62 million and New Jersey at $39 million.

If one person wins he or she can claim half the jackpot in cash, or $15 million. After taxes, the payment comes to $10.8 million. The state is required to withhold 28 percent for taxes.

If the person opts for annual payments, he or she will get $1.2 million a year for 25 years. After taxes, that ends up being $864,000 a year, or $72,000 a month. That’s also $2,350 a day.

That kind of money is drawing a lot of people into convenience stores for a chance to win.

Denise Phillips, a clerk at a Circle K at 14005 Highway 99, north of Lynnwood, said Friday that Lotto business is about the busiest she’s seen in four years working there.

"There are lots more people buying them, and they’re spending a lot of money. People who normally would spend $5 are spending $20 to $30," Phillips said. "But they’re not wrestling each other over tickets or anything. They just wait in line."

The biggest previous winning jackpot was $24 million, shared by winners from Everett and Richland in 1998. The highest jackpot claimed by a single winner was $21 million in 1992, a person from Spanaway.

The state has been running the lottery since 1982. About 60 percent of the money plunked down for tickets is returned in prize money, 6 percent goes to the retailers who sell the tickets. About 22 percent goes to the state general fund and the rest for administrative costs.

If $2.3 million is enough to keep you happy, the Quinto jackpot is at its second-highest-ever jackpot tonight. The record jackpot for that game was $2.4 million in 1998.

To find out tonight’s winning numbers, call 800-545-7510, go to www.heraldnet.com or www.wa.gov/lot/home.htm, or see Sunday’s Herald. The lottery updates its Web site two to three hours after the drawing, or you can have them e-mail you the results.

The drawing is televised live on Northwest Cable News.

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