Mega Millions lottery jackpot at $1.1 billion for winning number draw; Prize can also be winner for retailers
DES MOINES, Iowa– An estimated $1.1 billion Mega Millions jackpot draw on Tuesday night has people lined up at convenience stores across the country to buy tickets in hopes of winning a huge prize, but shop and gas station owners who sell the tickets also have a chance to get a big bonus.
State lotteries typically reward the owners of businesses that sell winning jackpot tickets for thousands of dollars or even up to $1 million even before those huge prizes are claimed.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT’S THE LATEST IN THE JACKPOT?
It seems nobody can win the Mega Millions jackpot, so it just keeps getting bigger. The last time someone beat the odds of 1 in 302.6 million and won the grand prize was on October 14th. Since then there have been 24 consecutive draws without anyone snagging the jackpot. The prize is now the fifth largest, although it’s still only about half the size of a record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot won by someone in California just a few months ago.
While it may seem like ages since anyone has won, it’s a long way from a record 41 consecutive draws that’s happened a few times, most recently at that $2.04 billion California prize.
AND WHO IS THE LUCKY CALIFORNIA?
That remains a mystery. The California Lottery has not announced a winner and says its policy is not to recognize whether anyone has claimed a prize until a purportedly winning ticket has been verified. All that is clear is that a ticket matching all six numbers drawn on November 9 was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, an unincorporated community northeast of Los Angeles.
A WINNER IN ALTADENA HAS BEEN DEFINED.
While we don’t know anything about the Powerball winner, we do know that service center owner Joe Chahayed received his $1 million bonus from lottery officials. Chahayed stood under a lottery-raised sign that read “Billionaire Made Here” and was surrounded by dozens of media and well-wishers. He said he intends to spend the money on his five children and donate some of it to help his community. He had no idea who bought the winning ticket.
“I wish I knew the person, but most of the people who buy tickets from me are from the neighborhood. I hope one of them will be the winner,” he said.
HOW DOES THE DEALER BONUS SYSTEM WORK?
The rules vary from state to state. Ohio, for example, pays up to $100,000 to retailers who sell jackpot winner tickets. In Illinois, retailers can get a bonus of up to $500,000, and in California, that benefit is $1 million. The state lotteries say it is part of their effort to encourage retailers to boost ticket sales. Some business owners say they also often see at least a temporary surge in business when superstitious gamers stop to buy their tickets at a place where someone has made it big.
POWERBALL IS GETTING BIGGER TOO
Even as the Mega Millions jackpot continues to grow, the top prize for the Powerball game is also approaching massive status. Ahead of a draw on Monday night, that prize totals $340 million for players who choose an annuity spread over 29 years.
IF YOU BUY A TICKET, DON’T FORGET…
Whether you spend $2 or $200 on Mega Millions or Powerball tickets, your odds of winning are incredibly slim. Powerball’s odds of 1 in 292.2 million are slightly better than Mega Millions, but they’re still abysmal. Can’t you take care of it? Andrew Swift, a math professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, described it differently, noting that for a person who buys a single ticket in either game, the odds of winning are slightly worse than flipping a coin and 28 times to get heads in a row.
AND DON’T FORGET THAT
Although the publicized annuity price of $1.1 billion for winning Mega Millions or $340 million for the Powerball jackpot gets all the attention, winners rarely choose such a long-term payment option. They want their money now. The cash payout is much smaller at $568.7 million for Mega Millions and $178.2 million for Powerball.
So if you dream of buying a yacht, maybe you should settle for one instead of two.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states plus Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands.
Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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