BOSTON - Cut Cables Contagious...Cut Frustrates Lottery Fever Folks for Largest Jackpot in U.S. History : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Tuesday May 9, 4:53 pm Eastern Time

Title: Cable cut frustrates lottery fever in Massachusetts

BOSTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Big Game lottery fever became a big frustration for thousands of people in Massachusetts on Tuesday when telephone workers mistakenly cut the cable to hundreds of machines selling tickets to the largest jackpot in U.S. history.

Bell Atlantic (NYSE:BEL - news) telephone workers cut an underground fiber optic cable on Tuesday morning in Raynham, Massachusetts, disabling up to 1,000 lottery agents, a company spokesman said.

Full service was restored to the area about four-and-a-half hours later -- but not soon enough for some would-be millionaires.

``We were turning thousands of people away. These folks were coming up from Connecticut and New York. One guy came in here with $1,600 for tickets and another had $600, all pools from where they worked. I had to turn them away,'' complained Alfred Pawlowski, general manager of Vista Donut in nearby Attleboro.

One of the largest lottery agents in Massachusetts, Pawlowski said the outage happened ``at the peak time. We can never make up that business. It was just phenomenal.''

The seven-state Big Game jackpot reached $350 million on Tuesday afternoon. The previous record for a U.S. lottery win was set in 1998 when 13 machinists in Ohio won a $295.7 million Powerball game.

The Big Game is also played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia.

About one third of gross proceeds go to fund state government programmes, although the exact amount varies from state to state. Retailers take about five cents for each dollar in ticket sales.


-- (, May 09, 2000

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