Wracking your brain to decide on a combination of numbers to unlock Friday's record $280 million Mega Millions jackpot? Relax. Most lottery winners in Ohio let the computer do the work.
That's because as many as 75 percent of Ohio lottery players rely on random numbers picked by computer, said Mike Bycko, spokesman for Ohio Lottery.
Though some lottery hopefuls might use birthdays or lucky numbers when buying tickets, most find "auto lotto" an easy and fast way to choose.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, $107,000 worth of lottery tickets were being sold in Ohio per hour - more than twice the pace from the morning, Bycko said.
The rush is because nobody matched all six numbers in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing, which boasted a $220 million jackpot.
Cirila Kermavner of Cleveland stopped by Dave's Supermarket on Payne Avenue Wednesday to purchase her weekly ticket.
She is sticking to her one-ticket-a-week plan, despite the unusually high jackpot that could be decided 11 p.m. Friday.
"I always say, 'One is enough. If you're going to win, you're going to win,' " she said.
Kermavner said she lets the computer pick her numbers because she doesn't like to think about it.
If she matches all six numbers, she will have something to think about: whether to receive her money at once - and lose a significant amount of her winnings - or take 26 annual increments. In either case, 28.5 percent of the jackpot is taken out for taxes.
If a Mega Millions winner wants a lump-sum check, he or she receives the jackpot's "estimated cash value" minus taxes. That value equals the money that the 11 Mega-Millions states have to invest, based on current interest rates, over 26 years to pay off the jackpot, Bycko said.
Friday's $280 million jackpot has an estimated cash value of $155.9 million, he said. After accounting for taxes, the one-time check would be for about $112 million.
But, Bycko asks, "Who wouldn't take the lump sum?"
Most winners take it so they have control over their money, he said.
The previous record Mega Millions jackpot was $239 million in February.