Tasha King will play the 11-state Mega Millions lottery for a chance at the $205 million jackpot, but she plans to carefully choose six numbers that could change her life.
"I play the lottery pretty regularly," the Cleveland woman said Thursday as she bought a regular Ohio lottery ticket at Mike's Beverages on Lorain and West 93rd Street. "I have to think about which numbers to play [for Mega Millions]. When I decide, they will be my secret."
King is among the millions of hopefuls who will take a chance on the big drawing tonight, the third-largest payoff since Mega Millions started in May 2002.
The record jackpot was $294 million won last July by one person in Massachusetts.
No one has won the latest jackpot since March 4 when $10 million went unclaimed. Since then, the big prize grew each Tuesday and Friday night as no one picked six correct numbers - five numbers plus the bonus Mega Ball, a separate drawing.
Darrell Rose of University Heights, clutched three tickets he just purchased at the Convenient store on State Road in Old Brooklyn.
"I'm playing to get rich," he declared with a confidence that ignored the sobering 135-million-to-one odds for the jackpot payoff.
Ray Kulwinder, owner of Lucky's Beverage and Deli at Broadview and Brookpark roads in Parma, is sure the winner will come from his store. Kulwinder said he served several people on Wednesday who were buying 500 tickets each as part of a buy-in by groups that work together.
"It's a good way to increase your chances, another good way is to buy the tickets here," he said. "We are very lucky. Someone won $140,000 here on Feb. 7 and someone else won $17,000 the next day. Just this morning we sold a $500 ticket. We live up to our name."
Mardele Cohen, spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery Commission, said Ohio can boast of being home to three Mega Millions jackpot winners.
"On Dec. 30, 2003, Rebecca Jamison of South Euclid won $162 million," she said. "On March 2, 2003, Eric Maxwell of Dayton won $21 million and on Aug. 4, a blind trust (names not revealed) won $52 million.
"We've had 205 second prize winners since May 17, 2002. More than $25 million has been won in second prize money alone."