Von Davis, left, of Woodalls on North Slappey, provides Stewart Champion with a two dollar shot at the big $500 million Powerball lottery jackpot. Champion said that other than helping his family and retiring a little earlier, the money would hardly affect his life.
ALBANY, Ga. -- What would you do? Think about it. Half a billion dollars — with a “B.” That’s where the Powerball jackpot, which the Georgia Lottery participates in, was this morning.
Would you keep on working? Buy that dream house (or 10)? Move to the south of France?
Those are all good starts, but barely keeping pace with interest. Maybe you should kick the rudder on a used aircraft carrier — well maintained, oil change up-to-date.
Larry Love, moving with his wife from Douglasville, doesn’t believe he’ll win. He never has, he said. But he bought two tickets at Woodall’s on North Slappey Boulevard “just in case.” The two of them have their eye on a house. Maybe a new car, too, would be a reasonable purchase with that kind of sudden wealth. Then he would pay off the remainder of his two daughters’ college educations.
So that’s it?
“I think that’s a lot of craziness,” Love said, “folks spending a bunch of money just because they got it.”
People had pessimistic views of their chances to beat the 175 million-to-one odds for the winning numbers, but they still placed their $2 bets on a sudden life of luxury.
"I won't win," Julian Winchester as he exited the store with his ticket. But he added: "You won't find me if I do."
The Georgia Lottery was created in 1992 to enhance education funding. The lottery is operated and overseen by the Georgia Lottery Corporation. Start-up costs were reimbursed within two weeks of the beginning of operations.
During its 19-year existence, The Georgia Lottery has generated more than $45 billion in ticket sales and transferred more than $13.8 billion to the State Treasury's Lottery for Education Account.
"I'd build a center for kids or a big boarding house to help people who couldn't help themselves," Bett Hope said after buying for her ticket. "That comes from the heart. For myself, I'd probably buy me a nice, old country house and thank the Lord I'm still here."
More than 1.4 million students have been able to attend college through Georgia's HOPE scholarship program, according to the Georgia Lottery website, with more than a million four-year-olds attending preschool programs. Georgia public schools have benefited from more than $1.8 billion in capital outlay, computer and technology upgrades.
Steward Champion is a lottery player from time to time. He's close to retirement, he said, so winning would just accelerate the process. Mostly, he said, he'd give a lot to his family and to charities, then go on living like before.
The Georgia Lottery website states that on Feb. 25, 2008, Robert Harris of Portal was awarded the highest single payout in the state lottery's history, claiming the multi-state Mega Millions jackpot of $275 million. Harris selected the cash option and received a lump sum payment of more than $171 million before taxes.