The PowerBall jackpot was estimated to be about $900 million the other night. Every news program throughout the days leading up to the drawing showed long, long lines waiting for tickets. Believe it or not, Nevada is one of seven US states that does not allow a lottery. Therefore, if residents want to participate in a chance to win, they have to drive to Primm Valley, on the California line, to purchase tickets. Judging from this AP photo, I'd say lots of Nevadans made the trip.
The odds of winning aren't all that good … 1 in 292,201,338, except in our case. Since we don't buy tickets, our odds are nil, but really, that's not far from the folks who buy tickets. Admittedly, they do have a slight edge. I've read that there are ways of increasing your odds minimally … let the computer generate the numbers for you, buy more tickets, rely on Chinese fortune cookie lucky numbers, let your fairy godmother do the picks. In our case, buying a ticket would help, but again, only by a slight margin.
I got a charge out of reading what events had better odds of happening than winning the lottery. For instance:
- Being killed by a vending machine - 1 in 112 million
- Being hit by falling airplane parts – 1 in 10 million
- Being killed by flesh-eating bacteria – 1 in 1 million (really?)
- Being killed by a meteorite – 1 in 700,000
- Pigs flying – 1 in ?????
Who figures out these things?
Well, nobody won the $900 million jackpot. I checked the numbers first thing. Oh, my … now it's getting interesting. It's Powerball-mania. Estimated at $1.3billion, America's largest lottery jackpot ever is causing normally sane people to go wild. The already-crazies are beyond help. According to USA Today, the lottery is “a pipe dream Americans throw about $66.5 billion dollars at yearly. It’s a game that’s largely for poor people to lose, as numerous studies have shown.” Despite the odds, everyone thinks they're going to win. It's the dream … winning a billion dollars.
So what would we do with $1.3 billion. First of all, if we took a lump sum lower payment, it would only amount to an $806 million payout, then there's federal tax and maybe state taxes … so it would net out to significantly less. Still, that's a fair amount of money. Well, jeez … we can't quit our jobs … we don't have jobs. We can't buy a boat and sail off into the sunset … we already do that. We can't travel any more than we already do. We could buy a country, I guess … there are 10+ countries with a GDP below $800 million … which would still leave some change after purchase for supporting all our new friends.
All that said … we might be heading out of Nevada to a Powerball vendor in a nearby state in the next couple of days. You just never know … we might want to increase our odds of winning.