Mega Millions, Powerball to form partnership

Powerball and Mega Millions will allow cross-selling; by 2010, both lotteries will be sold at the same stores.

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By Aaron Smith, staff writer

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NEW YORK ( -- Millions of lottery players will be able to double their bets because of a deal announced Wednesday by the two powerhouses of the business.

Mega Millions and Powerball, the country's largest lotteries, will allow stores in many states to sell both lotteries.

"We have reached an agreement to see if we can work together and cross-sell the games," said Chuck Strutt, spokesman for the Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates the sale of Powerball tickets.

The agreement "means that lotteries from across the United States, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will be able to choose to offer their lottery players both jackpot games via their retailers," Mega Millions said in a statement.

A firm start date has not been set but the companies hope to start the cross-selling early next year, according to Mega Millions and the association.

Stores in the 12 states that sell Mega Millions lottery tickets will also be able to sell Powerball tickets.

Likewise, stores in the areas that currently sell Powerball -- 31 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- will also be able to sell Mega Millions.

Mega Millions said it will be able to combine its population base of 160 million with the 125 million people who live in Powerball areas.

"There will probably be more jackpot winners over the course of the year, because you've got more players and more number combinations," said Tom Shaheen, president of the Multi-State Lottery Association and director of the North Carolina education lottery for Powerball.

Mega Millions is currently offering a jackpot of $200 million with a draw date of Oct. 16, compared to Powerball's current jackpot of $30 million.

Shaheen said he expects to launch a national game in 2010. Tickets selling for $2 and $5 would command the largest jackpots ever.

"[The national game] will have jackpots as big as half a billion dollars," said Shaheen.

On the Aug. 28 drawing date, Mega Millions awarded a $336 million jackpot that was split between two winners: James Groves, who bought his ticket in New York City, and Kevyn Ogawa, who purchased his ticket in San Gabriel, Calif., near Los Angeles.

Each were awarded $168 million. Groves decided to take his prize in 26 gross annual payments for more than $6.4 million each. Ogawa took the cash option and went home with $107 million. To top of page

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