For Ohio State football fans, it was a tough 24 hours.
Not only did their undefeated season come to a crushing end Monday night, but yesterday afternoon and evening, so did their luck at the lottery ticket counter.
This fall when Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39, the clever individuals who played the game's score as their numbers - 4-2-3-9 - in that night's Ohio Lottery Pick 4 won $5,000 each off their $1 wagers.
Among those holding the 898 winning tickets were six Ohio State fans who placed their bets mere minutes after watching the Scarlet and Gray's triumphant outcome on television inside Flav's Variety Store in central Toledo.
The good fortune for those betting the Ohio State BCS championship game score in the Pick 4 game was not repeated yesterday, but it wasn't for lack of crossed fingers.
The lottery sold out of tickets for those wishing to play both the forward and backward combinations of the score for Monday's Ohio State-Florida game, 41-14
The winning Pick 4 midday number was 9-1-0-4. The Pick 4 number last night was 6-2-2-0.
Also yesterday, large numbers of people in Ohio, Michigan, and 10 other states pressed their luck in Mega Millions, the twice-weekly game whose jackpot reached $122 million.
Ohio Lottery spokesman Marie Kilbane said that at 7:06 a.m., lottery clerks stopped selling Pick 4 tickets for numbers 4-1-1-4 because so many people were buying them that the lottery reached its self-imposed $6 million limit for potential Pick 3 and Pick 4 payouts.
"Once we reach that liability limit, our retailer terminals can't take that number anymore," said Ms. Kilbane, who suspects that the Nov. 18 results had much to do with yesterday's ticket-buying spree.
Pick 4 tickets in that number combination for the evening drawing sold out by 8:50 a.m. The final score backward - 1- 4- 4-1 - with Ohio State first, sold out shortly before noon.
It is relatively common for Pick 4 to reach its limit for certain sets of numbers that people may consider lucky, such as 1-2-2-5 on Christmas and 0-1-0-1 on New Year's Day. In fact, the numbers 1-1-1-1 sell out nearly every day, Ms. Kilbane said.
For the score of the Nov. 18 Ohio State-Michigan game, the lottery ended up paying $2.2 million on 898 wagers totaling nearly $348,000.
Winners had about 15 minutes between the end of the game that night and the drawing to buy their tickets. The odds of those numbers turning up in that combination - or any combination - were 10,000 to 1.
Yet according to James Foster, the manager of Flav's Variety Story who in November sold the OSU fans their six winning Pick 4 tickets, some people apparently believe lightning strikes twice.
"There was a line outside my store at 8 a.m. this morning, and they all wanted to play 4-1-1-4," he said yesterday.
"But they sold out of that number before I even opened."
Sales for the Mega Millions jackpot of $122 million reached nearly $942,000 yesterday, and totaled about $2.1 million by late afternoon.
The multistate game involves six-number drawings each Tuesday and Friday.
Ms. Kilbane said those sales numbers are about normal for Mega Millions jackpots of more than $100 million.
"We find that when the jackpot reaches $100 million and up, we have people who wouldn't ordinarily play decide to play."
For the Mega Millions drawing of Sept. 8, when the jackpot also exceeded $100 million, sales totaled $2.7 million, she said.
The Mega Millions numbers chosen last night were: 7-11- 26- 38-54, Mega Ball: 13.
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