ROCKVILLE – Like many would-be millionaires, Andrew Schulz decided Friday that the dream is worth the wait.
The draw of big bucks lured Schulz, 27, an economic consultant from Bethesda, to spend most of his lunch hour waiting to buy Maryland lotto tickets for Saturday’s drawing. This weekend’s drawing will be worth an estimated $7 million, according to Maryland State Lottery officials.
Schulz is trying to join more than 530 people who have won Maryland’s top jackpot since 1983. The winners have come from 22 Maryland counties and 14 states, according to a report from the Maryland State Lottery.
Some regions in Maryland are better represented than others among the legion of 536 Lotto winners who have claimed prizes between 1983 and last month.
Baltimore City is the home of the highest number of winners – 92 – of all Maryland areas, followed by Prince George’s County with 68.
The three other populous Maryland counties also were well represented among the winners. Sixty lived in Baltimore County, 58 from Montgomery and 43 from Anne Arundel.
As he moved up in line at the Rockville 7-Eleven store, Schulz, the consultant, said, “It would be great to win. I mean, it’s worth putting down a few bucks once in a while if you really hit it big.”
Then he added, with a chuckle, “I think I’m due anyway.”
But Maryland’s Eastern Shore has not proved to be fertile ground. Only 12 Lotto winners lived in the eight shore counties south of Caroline, and neither Kent nor Dorchester counties has produced a winning resident.
“A lot of the reason for the disparity has to do with population,” said Donna Williams, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Lottery. “A greater concentration of people play Lotto in the more populated areas of the state.”
Surprisingly, there have been more winners from Washington State (two) than from Worcester County, home of Ocean City (one).
The lottery report showed that exactly 100 winners did not live in Maryland at the time they hit the jackpot. Virginia and Washington, D.C., have been the most frequent home to out-of- state winners, but residents of Florida, Ohio and South Dakota have also taken home the big prize.
The Maryland lottery system has become a big moneymaker for the state in recent years. During the 1995 fiscal year, more than $1.02 billion worth of lottery tickets were sold, according to figures from the lottery board.
Also, the state’s Department of Fiscal Services projected that the lottery would add $360 million to state coffers in the next fiscal year, accounting for nearly 5 percent of Maryland’s income.
That figure has been rising since 1990, according to the report.
But it wasn’t for Maryland’s benefit that hopefuls lined up at stores across the state to buy Lotto tickets Friday.
“Somebody’s gonna win eventually,” said Gabriele Phillips, of Washington, D.C., who bought $5 worth of tickets at the Rockville 7-Eleven. “I could sure use the money.” -30-