The Odds of Winning a Lottery Jackpot
When the jackpot hits $1 billion, Americans are 15 times more likely to buy a ticket. The super-sized jackpot also generates free media coverage. This makes it more profitable for lottery organizers.
The Powerball jackpot is currently worth $782 million. This is the fifth-largest prize in the history of the game. But the odds of winning it are very small.
It’s important to remember that the larger the jackpot, the lower the chances of it actually being won. Consequently, lottery operators are willing to divert more revenue toward the larger prizes.
One of the most notorious lottery winners is Jack Whittaker. He was a construction worker from West Virginia who won a $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. Despite the huge sum, he donated it to strangers and diner waitresses.
Willie Hurt, the winner of the $3.1 million Michigan Super Lotto in 1989, was deeply tangled in the crack epidemic. In 1991, he was broke. His wife, Betty, was in a drug bender. They were charged with murder.
Evelyn Basehore, who won a $3.9 million lottery in 1985, gambled away most of her winnings. She moved into a trailer in Brick, New Jersey. Later, she was convicted of fraud and lost all her winnings.
Scott Godfrey won the Powerball on October 4, 2021. His options for a payout included a lump-sum payment and an annuity option, which spreads payments out over the next twenty to thirty years.
Another big winner was Keith Gough, who won an $11 million lottery in England. After he won, he drank himself to death.