If you won $210 million Powerball, you could…

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Jackson resident Butch Peyton fills in numbers for one of his Powerball tickets Tuesday at Interstate 7 Chevron in Delta and other gamblers line up behind him.(MElanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[12/31/03]DELTA Most people purchasing Powerball tickets Tuesday said they hadn’t thought about what they’d do with $210 million, but others said after paying off mortgages and other bills, they’d give what’s left to family, friends or charities.

“I’d buy her a house,” Tina Whatley said of her mother. “She’s on a limited income, and I’m an only child, so I’ve got to take care of my mama.”

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Whatley and her mother, Lillie Welborne, both from Lake Providence, stopped at the Interstate 7 Chevron on their way to Vicksburg for post-Christmas shopping.

Though looking for a cell-phone charger, the two couldn’t resist buying a couple of tickets.

Tonight’s drawing for $210 million if paid over time or $114 million cash, minus taxes, is the last and one of the largest of the year. Twenty-six states, including Louisiana, participate in the lottery in which five numbers plus a powerball number are selected. Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays, and when the grand prize isn’t claimed, the jackpot rolls over. After someone wins, the prize resets to $10 million.

The odds against one ticket winning tonight are 120,526,770 to 1 but after Saturday’s drawing there were 1.2 million winners of lesser amounts. For instance, a person who picks the powerball number wins $3. A person who picks all five numbers and misses only the powerball wins $100,000.

Whatley’s scenario if she were the big winner would include taking care of her mother and paying her bills and and her children’s. After that she’d help out a friend in need. The 43-year-old said she has a friend who is struggling to pay for health care, and providing for her would also be at the top of her spending list.

Another potential millionaire from Jackson was passing through and bought 10 tickets. John Gaines said he’d create a school for underpriviledged children, while others said they hadn’t thought that far ahead.

The first thing Jim Redd of Jackson said he’d do if he is the big winner is retire.

After that, he wasn’t sure, but paying off bills would be a high priority.

Redd picked up $100 worth of tickets for an office pool.

Since the tickets are not sold in Mississippi, outlets near Louisiana’s eastern border do a lot of “pool” business. Some people drive hours just to buy a dollar ticket. Some, however, purchase hundreds.

A student working on her thesis at Alcorn State University, 26-year-old Lekita Carr, said she’d split the money among her family, friends, church and alma mater.

“I’d have enough,” she said with a laugh.

And as far as buying for herself, “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

But Denise Porter had a pretty defined plan for her winnings.

“I’d pay off my bills and give to charities for the elderly and for disadvantaged children,” said the Canton native who drove to Delta to buy $5 worth of tickets.

“It doesn’t take but one to win,” was her motto.

Jackson resident Butch Peyton said he and a friend bought $60 in tickets. If he wins, Peyton said, he will buy his dream car, a 1978 Corvette.

His friend Ethel Robinson, with him at Interstate 7, said she would travel first and worry about the rest later.

And 16-year-old Joshua Miller of Jackson, who accompanied his aunt to the store, knew exactly what he’d do with the jackpot.

“I’d buy a yacht and go somewhere where there are no mosquitoes,” he said.

Hattie Vines, manager of the convenience and gas station along Interstate 20 and just across the Mississippi River Bridge, estimated that the store would sell 25,000 or more tickets before tonight.

Early Tuesday morning the customers’ wait wasn’t too bad only a couple of minutes but as the day passed lines were past the front door.

Sellers gets 5 cents for each ticket. Participating states get the money not given out in prizes or to the corporations hired to operate the lottery games.