BALTIMORE -- -- Of the 20 million players who bought about 160 million Maryland Lotto tickets in fiscal 1987, only 106 people were lucky enough to hit the big weekly jackpots ranging from $1 million to $14 million, state statistics show.
Those prizes were won on a mere 77 tickets, of which 20 percent were purchased in Montgomery County, and 24 of the winners were not Maryland residents, according to state figures. The numbers on 54 of the winning tickets were selected by a computer.
Who is playing Lotto in Maryland, and who is winning?
Pat Leland, the state lottery agency's marketing analyst, said that eight metropolitan areas in Maryland make up the bulk of Lotto sales in part because of heavy marketing and in part because of large populations in those areas.
"We focus our advertising on metropolitan areas," Leland said.
The state's latest statistics indicating the number of Lotto players by county are from fiscal 1985, but lottery spokesman Carlton Dotson said those figures have not changed appreciably and can be used to judge current sales.
Based on the figures, the highest number of the approximately 160 million Lotto tickets were sold in Prince George's County -- the state's most heavily populated county -- about 5,180,738. Baltimore was second with 3,757,493, followed by Baltimore County with 3,417,058.
The fewest tickets -- 37,686 -- for the weekly drawing were sold in Somerset County. In Garrett County, 49,286 tickets were sold.
Somerset and Garrett counties traditionally have the state's highest unemployment rate. Garrett County has the state's lowest per-capita average annual income at $7,990.
State officials say that from May 10, 1986, to May 30, 1987, 17 winners were from Baltimore, 13 were from Montgomery County and nine were from Prince George's County.
Of the 24 out-of-state winners, 14 were from Virginia and five were from the District.
"We've always enjoyed a lively action from D.C. residents and Northern Virginia," Leland said.
Ticket winners do not always purchase their winning Lotto tickets in the county in which they live, however, and although Baltimore had 17 players winning the jackpot, only eight winning tickets were sold in the city.
Lotto agents in Montgomery -- the area with the highest per-capita annual average income -- sold 16 winning tickets, which was the highest number of winning tickets, followed by Prince George's with 15 and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, which each sold nine winning tickets.