Lottery hits 400 million and Alabamians join in mania - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Lottery hits 400 million and Alabamians join in mania

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Millions of people across the country are dreaming of tonight's mega jackpot drawing. There is no guarantee, however, that there will be a winner. No one has had a winning mega jackpot lottery ticket since October 1.  That is when the system got revamped, making the odds of winning even more of a long shot. The chances of having a winning ticket tonight stand at one in 259 million.

Still, from the looks of lottery lines across the country, those odds are doing little to diminish people from trying. The theory is that someone has to get lucky. With tonight's drawing being the second largest in the game's history, the trip to the Alabama-Georgia state line was a "no brainer" for many Alabamians who say you have to play to win. Three of the four states surrounding Alabama offer the Mega jackpot - Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.

Alabama voters had a chance to vote in a lottery in 1999. The referendum, however, was soundly defeated. In 2010, then Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ron Sparks ran a campaign based on bringing an education lottery to Alabama. He, too lost.

The Democratic leader in the Alabama House of Representatives believes it is time to give a lottery another chance in the state. Representative Craig Ford of Gadsden says a lottery could produce 250 million dollars each year for education. Ford says that would keep money people spend on lottery tickets in this state as opposed to giving it to neighboring states. He expects to introduce a lottery bill in the regular session of the legislature which begins January 14.

Republican leadership, however, is already warning the bill will go nowhere. They point to the past defeats as the reason why. They have yet to see a majority of Alabamians show they are ready to play the lottery in this state.

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