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$85 MILLION JACKPOT IS NATION'S BIGGEST RIGHT NOW.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

Here we go again.

On the heels of last month's history-making, $193 million California Lottery jackpot comes today's $85 million edition, which is breaking records of its own.

The bundle gives California the biggest jackpot in the nation right now, higher than the popular multistate Power Ball and The Big Game, and sure to draw extra out-of-state interest, lotto officials said.

At $85 million, and no winner since last month's big one, eyes are on the prize - and the possibility that tonight's drawing could produce no winner, leaving the jackpot to roll over to big winnings again.

``When it gets this high, it definitely draws some excitement,'' said lottery spokeswoman Cathy Doyle Johnston. ``They like it to get as high as it possibly can, that's for sure.''

A single jackpot winner of $85 million annual payments would receive 26 annual payments starting at $2.1 million and going up to $4.3 million, before taxes.

A single cash payment would be $42.5 million, officials said.

California's public schools are slated to receive an additional $47 million from this jackpot, lotto officials said.

For local store clerks, the big prize leaves them bracing for today's onslaught of customers.

Song Kim, owner of the Liquor Mart in Canoga Park, said once the buzz about a big jackpot gets going, game players start buying.

Shoppers especially scoop up tickets as the clock closes in on the key times - 7:45 p.m. for last purchases, 7:58 p.m. for the draw.

``Most people buy tickets almost at the ending time,'' said Kim.

Kim said his small shop doesn't get the long lines some stores are known to have on jumbo jackpot days, but the big ticket winnings still take priority.

``They come in, buy some soda pop, chips, candy bars. They say, 'How much is it (the lotto) today? Oh! Forget the chips.'''

The shop owner selling a single winning ticket would receive $425,000, officials said.

The largest jackpot in the history of the game occurred Feb. 16, when the $193 million was won by the holders of three winning tickets from Orange, Half Moon Bay and Montebello.

Last June, the then-record $141 million jackpot had a single winning ticket held by a San Jose resident.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 20, 2002
Words:381
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