Powerball jackpot climbs to $1.6 billion, an all-time record

Saturday’s Powerball jackpot will be the highest in the game’s history at $1.6 billion, likely leading to a wave of new players dreaming of becoming billionaires overnight.

Nobody has drawn the winning numbers since August, meaning the jackpot has increased to a record-breaking prize of $1.6 billion with a cash value of $782.4 million, according to the organization that runs the Powerball.

The last record was set in January 2016 when winners in California, Florida and Tennessee shared the $1.58 billion jackpot. Last year, a California player won nearly $700 million, the Multi-State Lottery Assn said. in a press release on Friday. The youngest Powerball winner bought his ticket in August and won $202 million in the state of Pennsylvania.

There have been 40 draws since someone last won the jackpot and if no one wins the jackpot on Saturday there will be the record for the longest streak of draws without a grand prize winner.

The staggering jackpot grabs headlines and leaves a nation of hopefuls daydreaming about what they would do if they won.

“With this $1.6 billion jackpot, we are witnessing history being made,” Drew Svitko, chairman of the Powerball product group, said in a statement. “Also exciting is that this run has already produced millions of winners, including nearly 100 players who have won prizes of $1 million or more.”

The Powerball product group represents the various lottery groups across the country that have agreed to participate in the Powerball. As of 2016, both the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries were offered in multiple states.

Players may find all those zeros enticing, and at only $2 per ticket, the cost to play may seem reasonable.

However, players should keep in mind that the lottery is played in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. According to Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and an expert on lotteries and gambling, a player has about a 1 in 300 million chance of winning the Powerball.

Nevertheless, he does not blame anyone who wants to try their luck.

“The best way to think about it is that it’s an entertainment tax,” Matheson said. “Hopefully people are buying their Powerball tickets for fun and excitement and not as an investment. Because it’s a terrible investment.”

While not everyone will walk away a winner, rest assured they’re participating in one of the nation’s largest voluntary taxes. Depending on the state, lottery proceeds support different beneficiaries, such as California’s public education system or health and social services. Several states are putting the money back into responsible gambling and treatment programs, the National Council on Problem Gambling said.

Matheson reminds anyone who plays the lottery that it is a form of gambling, with odds that make it the riskiest form of gambling. He compares someone who plays 10 blackjack games to someone who buys 10 Powerball tickets: the blackjack player can make some winnings after learning the rules of the game, but usually the lottery player gets nothing.

But he stressed that a person who doesn’t buy a ticket has almost the same odds of winning as someone who puts down $2.

“Even so, it only takes a trip to the liquor store to become a billionaire,” Matheson said.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-04/cross-your-fingers-powerball-climbs-to-1-6-billion-setting-all-time-record-before-saturday-drawing Powerball jackpot climbs to $1.6 billion, an all-time record

Alley Einstein

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