The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 16, 2013

Powerball jackpot jumps to $550 million

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — Jerry Sabo knows the odds of hitting Saturday’s near-record Powerball jackpot are a long shot at best.

But with $550 million reasons to play, she’ll probably have a ticket in hand this weekend.

“I usually avoid the Powerball. But somebody’s gotta win it,” Sabo, of Mineral Point, said Thursday.

“That’s a lot of money,” she added, saying it’d be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fix her home, pay off bills and help her family.

It’s a lot even for Powerball – a game offered in 43 states that often grows to nine-figure payouts.

Saturday’s game offers the second-largest jackpot in the game’s history – either a

$550 million annuity or $350 million cash.

Frederick Bing of Johnstown already has plans for the winnings.

First off, 10 percent would go to his church – and the man upstairs, he said.

He’s read too many stories about misfortune falling on lucky lottery winners. It seems like they always end up alone, broke “or in some fiery car crash.”

“The devil’s always busy,” he said. “I wouldn’t fall for that. I mean, you couldn’t spend all that money the rest of your life if you wanted to. So why be greedy?

“I’d set up a few charities,” Bing said, scratching a lottery ticket on Main Street. “I’d do what I could to help people that need it more than I would.”

Everybody’s got a plan for the jackpot, said Sohil Ghodasara, while a slow but steady flow of customers behind him exited Smoke City with tickets in hand.

Ghodasara said he sees them more often when the jackpot climbs over $200 million – and that certainly should be the case in the next few days as lottery players eye the near-record payout.  As the number grows, so does the number of office groups pooling their money for a better shot at the big prize, he added.

He can’t blame them.

“It’s a dream,” he said. “The right ticket. The right numbers and the right time – and you’re rich. Somebody’s gotta win.”

Somebody might. It just won’t be Joe Smith of Davisdville.

“I hear that all the time from people. ‘You can’t win unless you play,’ right?” Smith said. “Not me.”

“The next day I’ll still have that $3 in my pocket and they won’t,” he added. “I’m not throwing my money away.”

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