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    Texans Flood C-stores For Mega Millions

    Multi-state lotto's first Lone Star State drawing, for an estimated $44 million, is tonight.

    EL PASO, Texas -- A new lottery game in Texas has many El Pasoans excited about their first shot at an estimated $44 million jackpot, reported the El Paso Times.

    "I was just waiting for Mega Millions to start," Lower Valley resident Rafael Delgado said while buying lottery tickets at the Howdy's convenience store on Gateway West at Airway. "I could hardly wait."

    Tonight's Mega Millions lottery drawing is the first time Texas will participate in the multi-state lottery. Among the other 10 participating states are New York, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and Georgia.

    Lines for local lottery retailers began forming when the tickets went on sale Wednesday, and retailers today expect to get an unusually large crowd of lottery players, the newspaper reported.

    "We're excited to be a part of it," said Troy Calhoun, vice president of operations for Transmountain Oil Co., owner of Howdy's convenience stores in El Paso. "We're going to do everything we can in our stores to make it as successful as possible."

    The Howdy's convenience store in Santa Teresa is used to handling long lines when the Powerball lottery that New Mexico participates in has jackpots that climb over $100 million, according to the report. Powerball's Saturday jackpot will be an estimated $66 million, and Mega Millions' top jackpot set records in May 2000 when it reached $363 million, reported the Times.

    Although the new Mega Millions game promises Texans larger prizes, the state is keeping its Lotto Texas game, which will have a drawing for an estimated $17 million on Saturday, according to the newspaper.

    The Texas Mega Millions is also offering residents something the game's other participants do not have -- a chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes by two, three or four times by purchasing a Megaplier number for an additional dollar.

    The game is expected to increase the Texas Lottery Commission's revenues by approximately $101 million in the first two years, the report stated. The state's lottery revenues go toward the Foundation School Fund to support public education.

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