Posted on: July 19, 2023, 03:22h.
Last updated on: July 19, 2023, 03:47h.
Lottery hysteria has returned to the United States as the two leading interstate lottery games, Powerball and Mega Millions, continue to roll over their jackpots.
The last time a Mega Millions ticket matched the six winning numbers came back on April 18. Powerball’s top prize hasn’t hit since April 18.
It’s been more than 90 days since either jackpot was won, and that’s resulted in near-record-setting jackpots up for grabs this week.
Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is an estimated $1 billion, with a cash value of $516.8 million. It’s only the third time in Powerball history that the 30-year annuitized jackpot has moved past the 10-digit mark. Powerball dates back to 1992.
Mega Millions will be drawn next on Friday, July 21. The estimated jackpot is $720 million, with a cash option of $369.6 million. The jackpot represents Mega Millions’ fifth-richest prize ever offered. Mega Millions was first played in 1996.
Each ticket’s odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are just one in 292.2 million. Mega Millions is even worse at about one in 302.5 million. The estimated jackpots are before federal and possibly state taxes.
Financial Advisor Advises Against Lottery
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a financial advisor who believes playing the lottery is a sound financial decision. Jeanne Sahadi, a senior writer for CNN Business, says that while dropping a few bucks on some lottery tickets on occasion can be considered entertainment indulgences — and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that — she advises consumers to look elsewhere if they’re primarily playing with the long hopes of striking it rich.
Given everyone’s dreadfully poor odds of winning big — you have a better chance of being struck by lightning — spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year in hopes of becoming a fast millionaire is a little like setting your cash on fire,” Sahadi explained.
Americans spent almost $108 billion on lottery tickets during the 2022-23 fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL).
Coincidentally, this week is NASPL’s fifth annual “Lottery Week,” a time when lottery industry stakeholders across the country celebrate their collective contributions to the state programs they benefit.
“We launched Lottery Week to showcase the good lotteries do in their communities,” said NASPL Executive Director David Gale. “In fiscal year 2022 alone, the creative and entertaining products offered by lotteries generated more than $28.6 billion in revenues for good causes in the US.”
History in the Making
Drew Svitko, chair of the Powerball Product Group and executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, one of the game’s 48 participating jurisdictions, says Wednesday’s drawing is a history-making event regardless of whether a ticket matches the six winning numbers.
This has turned into a historic jackpot run,” said Svitko. “This is only the third time in Powerball’s 31-year history that a jackpot has reached the billion-dollar threshold. It only takes one ticket to win this massive jackpot.”
The federal government is the only guaranteed winner, as the feds will take a 37% cut of both the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots. That’s the top taxable income bracket, which is levied on individuals earning more than $578,126, or $693,751 for married couples.