N.J. Lottery is still taking bets on today's date - 7/7/07 - but Pa. may decline. Too late, perhaps, to put your money down

Posted: July 07, 2007

In New Jersey, you may still place your bets on a numeric combination of today's mystic date: 7/7/07. In Pennsylvania, the betting window is probably closed.

Pennsylvania lottery officials yesterday ceased selling four-digit lottery tickets with 7777 or 7707 for either of today's two daily drawings. They also stopped selling 777 for this evening's three-digit game. While the lottery had not yet stopped selling 777 for today's afternoon three-digit drawing as of yesterday afternoon, it likely has by now. A computer automatically shuts off the betting when the payoff reaches its limit.

But if you buy your tickets in the Garden State, luck may yet smile. New Jersey does not cut off betting on a number at any point.

"We are seeing heavy betting on 777 and 7707," said Dominick DeMarco, the lottery's public information officer.

New Jersey is a pari-mutuel betting state, DeMarco explained. That means it sets no ceiling on how often any numeric combination may be bet on lottery tickets.

"A hundred, a thousand, 10,000, there's no limit," DeMarco said. "However, it is kind of like betting on the favorite in a horse race. The payout won't be astronomical."

Pennsylvania limits payouts to $10 million on its four-digit lottery and $20 million on its three-digit play, and bases its sales on that, said lottery spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell. A computer is programmed to halt sales when payouts reach those levels.

In conjunction with the special date, the Pennsylvania Lottery will hold a Millionaire Raffle for only the fourth time, with 7,777 prizes totaling $6.4 million being awarded at 7 tonight.

Today's date has been touted as a very lucky day. Many weddings are planned, casinos and betting parlors are expected to do a brisk business, and lots of folks are just keeping their fingers crossed that it is indeed a fortunate day in whatever they set out to do.

Like winning the lottery.

Contact staff writer Terry Bitman at 215-854-4152 or tbitman@phillynews.com.

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