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Dublin: 19 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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One US lotto player won $758 million dollars overnight

The odds of winning the Powerball lotto are the same as flipping a coin and getting ‘heads’ 28 times in a row.

Residents braved the cold weather and waited three hours to get their Powerball tickets for the $1.6 billion draw last year.
Residents braved the cold weather and waited three hours to get their Powerball tickets for the $1.6 billion draw last year.
Image: Gene Blevins/PA

LOTTERY PLAYERS ACROSS the US scooped up $2 Powerball tickets in hopes of beating the odds and winning a massive $758.7 million (€642 million) jackpot in yesterday’s draw and organisers said just one ticket has won it all.

The winning ticket was sold in Massachusetts and that person can expect to take home around $400 million dollars once taxes and other related charges are taken from their winnings.

The odds of matching all six numbers remain the same, at one in 292.2 million, regardless of the jackpot prize.

Tom Rietz, a professor at the University of Iowa who researches probabilities, says it’s hard for people to fathom what odds of one in 292.2 million mean. For a better sense, he said people should imagine the 324 million US residents. He said your chance of winning is roughly comparable to being that one lucky person out of the entire population, with everyone else losing.

Cornelius Nelan, a mathematics professor at Quinnipiac University, puts the odds in perspective by noting they’re about the same as flipping a coin and getting heads 28 times in a row.

The $758.7 million jackpot is second only to a $1.6 billion prize shared by three people in January 2016. The current jackpot refers to the annuity option, doled out in 30 payments over 29 years, increasing 5% annually.

Nearly all winners favour the cash option, which would now be $480.5 million. The advantage of taking cash is that people can invest the money with hopes of a greater return than the guaranteed payments they would receive through the annuity. The downside is they’ll pay a little more in taxes and won’t have the certainty of giant annual salaries for decades.

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