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Money Money Money

The Powerball jackpot is now $1.5bn and people are going nuts

As you would.

The Powerball jackpot is now $1.5bn and people are going nuts
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  • Powerball Jackpot

    Queues to buy tickets on Saturday in California.Source: Associated Press
  • Powerball Jackpot

    Queues to buy tickets on Saturday in California.Source: Associated Press
  • Powerball Jackpot

    Queues to buy tickets today in Arizona.Source: Associated Press
  • Powerball Jackpot

    Queue to buy tickets on Saturday in California.Source: Associated Press

THE LARGEST JACKPOT in US history shot up to $1.5 billion (€1.38bn) on Tuesday, driven by record sales as people flock across state lines and international borders to buy tickets, a lottery executive said.

To win the jackpot, a ticket holder has to match all numbers on five white balls and one red ball selected at the twice weekly Powerball draw — next due on Wednesday at 10:59 pm (0359 GMT Thursday).

The winner can choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual installments over 29 years — or take a one-off cash payment of $930 million (€857m) — before taxes.

Needless to say, an awful lot of people want to win, despite the terrible odds.

One Fox news pundit told viewers that the best way to be in with a chance of winning is to buy as many ticket as they can afford.

Needless to say, that probably isn’t going to work out very well. As Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz writes:

The first problem is that your likelihood of winning is still incredibly low, even if you buy a bunch of tickets. Your odds of being struck by lightning in the next year are about 120 times higher than a two in 292,201,338 chance. Buying 10 tickets and giving yourself a 10 in 292,201,338 chance still leaves you about six times as likely to die in a plane crash as you are to win Powerball.
An even bigger problem is that this is a monumentally terrible idea from a financial perspective. Assuming you take the lump sum, which you likely should, and factoring in taxes, each one of those tickets has a negative expected value, meaning that each lottery ticket represents a likely loss of money. Buying more tickets, then, just increases the amount of money you’re likely to lose.

Through last Saturday about $1.75 billion (€1.61bn) in Powerball tickets have been bought since the last jackpot win on November 4, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and chair of the Powerball game group, told AFP.

At the last draw on Saturday, 25 people matched the first five numbers — winning $1 million each — and three others had paid a bonus netting them $2 million each but no one claimed the then $950 million jackpot.

Grief said sales were record breaking and could not rule out that the jackpot would again rise before Wednesday’s draw.

“Sales are doing exponentially more than we’ve ever done before,” he said, adding that they were more than double what they were before the last record US jackpot of $656 million (€604m) in March 2012 — won by ticket holders.

I’m hearing anecdotally and through news outlets, millions of people who have never played Powerball before are indeed purchasing a ticket.

Some retailers scoring the biggest sales are in states bordering the handful that do not participate in the Powerball, he said.

People are flocking over from those states to stand in line and buy lottery tickets. You do not have to be a citizen of the US, people are coming from Mexico and Canada to purchase tickets.

Forty-four US states take part in the Powerball along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The world’s richest lottery is Spain’s annual Christmas “El Gordo,” which in 2015 handed out 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) but which capped individual wins at 400,000 euros and handed out thousands of smaller prizes.

Back home, and tomorrow night’s Lotto jackpot is heading towards €10 million, roughly 0.6% of the Powerball, but still decent enough.

The EuroMillions jackpot tonight was worth €69,000,000, here are the winning numbers:


© – AFP, 2016additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

Lotto winner: ‘We only had €40 left for the week – and then we win over €164,000′ >

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