February 10, 2005 in Nation/World

California lottery approves Mega Millions game

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hoping to pump up sales, California’s lottery board has voted to join the multistate Mega Millions game, giving players a long shot at nine-figure jackpots.

The board voted 3-0 on Tuesday to pick Mega Millions, which is played in 11 other states, over the more popular Powerball, available in 27 states.

“We are excited to enter into this partnership and look forward to providing our players with what they have asked for – jackpots in the $200 million to $300 million range,” said Chon Gutierrez, the lottery’s interim director.

Cathy Johnston, a lottery spokeswoman, said the board picked Mega Millions in part because its drawings are held on Tuesday and Friday and wouldn’t conflict with the state’s Lotto drawings on Wednesday and Saturday.

A timetable for the introduction of the game hasn’t been worked out yet, Johnston said.

Attorney Fred Jones, a lobbyist for a group called California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, questioned whether the board could approve “a radical expansion of the California Lottery” without legislative authorization. A lawsuit challenging the decision was possible as a last resort, he said.

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