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'Big Game' Jackpot Rises to $350 Million

Aired May 9, 2000 - 2:10 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: They don't call it the "Big Game" for nothing. the record-breaking $350 million "Big Game" jackpot is on the line tonight, and to borrow a phrase, irrational exuberance appears to be sweeping ticket buyers.

CNN's Gina London is spending the day at a lottery outlet in north Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GINA LONDON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's the sound of the "Big Game" lottery jackpot getting even bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable, the amount of money they're talking about.

LONDON: Sales are going strong as we go down to the wire of tonight's drawing. The store that sells the winning ticket wins too, some receive a in a $25,000 bonus, good news for employees who have been working non-stop.

MELISSA WILLIS, GOLDEN GALLON: It's tiring, but you think: if we sell it, we've never sold one before. So $25,000 would be nice to split, because there's only six employees. So, that's a good cut for everybody.

LONDON: Only seven states sell game tickets: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia. But a lot of people in neighboring states are making runs for the border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to make a trip up here today. My father is an over the road truck driver and he asked me to come up here to get his lottery tickets for him.

LONDON: Others outside a "Big Game" state are having their friends or relatives pick the five plus one number combination, which, if drawn, will do more than Regis Philbin and make somebody a multi- millionaire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot of money. It's -- it would be somebody's dream, dream of a lifetime.

LONDON: And people who aren't usually tempted by a mere $5 million or $10 million prize find they can't resist a jackpot that's become a giant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A giant, it's -- it gets you excited, and it's time to go for a ride.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LONDON: And now this is how it's been all day here at the Golden Gallon. It's a gas station that is in between Georgia and Tennessee. Now, of course, Tennessee is a lottery-free state. So a lot of people coming here to try their hand at the one in 76 million odds.

But what happens if one person here wins, they have two options of collecting their prize: they can get it in an annuity, and that would be a year, for the next 26 years of about $12 million; or they can try what I've selected, that's the cash option where they get one lump sum all at one time and we understand that is going to be over $100 million.

So I hate to break it to all these people, Lou and Natalie, but this is the winning ticket.

Reporting live I'm Gina London, CNN, at the Golden Gallon in Ringgold, Georgia.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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