The $1.6 Billion Powerball Drawing Problem

Saturday’s Powerball draw will be the largest in US history after hitting $1.6 billion. This mega-jackpot was made possible after Wednesday’s draw, valued at $1.2 billion, resulted in no winning tickets. The staggering sum – more than 22,000 years of income for the median American household – is driving lottery players into a frenzy. But as jackpots like this grow, so does criticism that lotteries are becoming more predatory and harmful to many people who play them. “We have this huge debate about wealth inequality in our country, and you have people spending hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands of dollars on these lottery games, which is pushing people into more debt,” says Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling. , a non-profit advocacy group. “Powerball is like the exclamation mark on this. » Why are the jackpots getting bigger? The first Powerball drawing was in 1992 and an Indiana player won $5.9 million. More than 30 years later, the American economy and American standards of wealth have been dramatically altered by multiple recessions, inflation, and economic growth. But the major lotteries have also changed the rules to make sure the jackpots get bigger and bigger, in a bid to grab media attention and generate buzz. In 2012, Powerball tickets were reduced from $1 to $2 per ticket, and the game format has since undergone several changes to expand the pool of numbers and reduce the likelihood of an individual draw resulting in a jackpot winner. The effect is that the jackpots have ballooned. “In the industry, they have what they call ‘jackpot fatigue,’ where what they’ve found with research and hands-on experiences is that small jackpots no longer appeal to players,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. TIME. “They design the games deliberately to maximize the big jackpots which are rare. One way to do this is to make the odds worse so that the jackpot gets bigger. With an estimated cash value of $782.4 million after tax, the winning jackpot numbers will be announced from Tallahassee at 10:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 5. If there are no winners on Saturday, the jackpot will continue to grow. Powerball winners can either choose to receive their winnings in regular payouts over 29 years or take the lump sum if they win. Recently, financial experts have pointed out that with high inflation, it might make more sense to take the annuity and keep more of the income from future payments as the tax rate comes down. In the past, the lump sum was a good option, so winners could invest to continue growing. Whyte also describes how accepted and normalized lottery participation is today, compared to decades ago when a slight majority of Americans disapproved of legalized gambling. “Today, polls generally show that about 80 to 85 percent of Americans approve of legalized gambling,” he says. “There’s been a massive cultural shift if you will, and I think that’s also reflected in these bigger jackpots. » Who is hurt by the lottery game? Bernal strongly believes that state-sanctioned lotteries are particularly exploitative because of the way they target marginalized groups. “It’s a form of financial fraud that’s only legal if you partner with the state government,” he says. Research suggests that state lottery retailers tend to be concentrated in low-income areas and communities of color. A Consumer Federation of America survey found that one-fifth of Americans think winning the lottery is the only possible way for them to earn several hundred thousand dollars. “Lotteries feast on these demographics, they are the business model. Lotteries don’t exist without low-income people spending their wealth,” Bernal says. “Half the country has stocks and bonds, and they own houses. Half the country has nothing, they have no assets, and these are the people we encourage to play the lottery. Whyte explains that big prizes tend to attract more people, even those who wouldn’t play in other settings. But he says, “there is no doubt that the lottery is a form of gambling like any other and excessive use can lead to addiction. “The general public doesn’t always see the lottery as a game, both legally and psychologically. We know that people can develop gambling problems as a result of their lottery play; it may even be exclusively due to their lottery play,” adds Whyte. Drew Svitko, president of the Powerball product group and executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, told TIME, “Since the mid-1960s, lotteries in the United States have provided entertainment for millions of players while bringing in billions of dollars in funding for vital public programs, services and good causes. such as education, health and welfare, transportation, and the environment to improve the quality of life for residents of their states with strict government compliance requirements. “What the ‘critics’ are saying is not a fair statement and unfortunately these are common misconceptions about the lottery industry that are not based on fact,” Svitko added. “People from all walks of life and all income levels play lottery games. “Where does the money go? Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. According to Powerball, more than half of all ticket sales revenue stays in the jurisdiction where the ticket was sold. Half of ticket sales fund jackpots, 35% “benefits good causes supported by lotteries”, 9% goes to operating expenses and 6% to retailer commissions. Mega Millions follows a similar payout plan. Each state’s lottery commission determines where to allocate its winnings. States vary between funding different public services. Pennsylvania chooses to fund programs for the elderly; Wisconsin uses its revenue to reduce property taxes. A handful of states place their lottery revenue in their state’s general funds for unspecified purposes, but the majority dedicate their revenue to funding public schools. New York and California explicitly state that the primary purposes of their lotteries are to raise funds for education. Lottery-based education funding, however, faces great skepticism, with critics saying states don’t actually use the revenue to increase their education budgets. Instead, what some analysts are saying is that as more lottery money starts flowing into education, states are cutting their existing education budgets. In North Carolina, for example, the initial state bill to establish the lottery stated that “net lottery revenues shall supplement rather than be used as replacement funds for the total amount of funds allocated to these public purposes. That specification has since been removed from the law, according to CNN. What are the biggest lottery draws in US history? Since the start of the Mega Millions lottery in 2002, there have been 204 winning jackpots. Powerball has had 210 winning jackpot tickets over its 30 year life. Powerball estimates that a player has a one in 292 million chance of winning a jackpot. Here are the biggest lottery jackpots to date, according to The Associated Press. 1.6 Billion+Powerball, drawing November 5, 2022 $1.59 billion Powerball, January 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee) $1.54 billionMega Millions, October 23, 2018 (one ticket, from Carolina South) $1.3 billionMega Millions, July 29, 2022 (one ticket, from Illinois) $1.1 billionMega Millions, January 22, 2021 (one ticket, from Michigan) $768 millionPowerball, March 27, 2019 (one ticket, from Wisconsin) $758 million Powerball, August 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts) $731 million Powerball, January 20, 2021 (one ticket, from Maryland) $699 million Powerball, October 4, 2021 (one ticket, from California) $687.8 millionPowerball, Oct. 27, 2018 (two tickets, from Iowa and New York) More must-see stories from TIME Contact us at [email protected] Not all news on the site expresses the views of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.


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