On Saturday, Jan. 9, the Multi-State Lottery Association’s Powerball jackpot reached over $900 million, the largest jackpot in American history. However, the five white balls and red “Powerball” drawn that night failed to match the numbers on a purchased ticket. The lack of a winner caused the jackpot to roll over to an estimated value of $1.3 billion, more than twice that of the previous record lottery jackpot of $640 million for the Mega Millions drawing on March 30, 2012.
With a record-sized jackpot at hand, the sales of Powerball tickets have skyrocketed as millions of people are looking for a chance to cash in on the winnings. For Saturday’s drawing, it was determined that approximately 75 percent of all possible number combinations were purchased by lottery-goers. However, the odds of winning the jackpot are less than 1 in 292,000,000.
Nevertheless, dozens of faculty and students at Prep are buying up tickets at astronomical rates. Social Studies Department Chair Mr. Pituch is in charge of Prep’s faculty Powerball pool. “The odds of winning are slim, but you can’t win if you don’t play,” Mr. Pituch stated. With roughly 55 school faculty and staff participating in the drawing, Mr. Pituch estimated that each participant would walk away with somewhere around $10 million in cash payout after all taxes and fees were taken into consideration. He continued to stress the amount of societal good that would come to the Prep and Erie communities if the jackpot were to be distributed among the large group of educators and school staff.
Senior Phil Selker is planning on purchasing a few tickets. “My odds are really bad, but I don’t give a flying fladoodle,” Selker stated.
However, others like senior Tim Evans, are a slight bit stingier with their money. “Last night I bought a Filet-O-Fish, and I knew I was going to be able to eat it. That was a big deal for me. Why in the world would I want to buy a lottery ticket that has no guaranteed return? I’ll go with the Filet-O-Fish.” Evans continued, “I’d rather invest my money in a product with a guaranteed return rate, like Kmart stock.”
Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Powerball drawings are every Wednesday and Saturday at 11 p.m. The cost of tickets is $2, or $3 with the purchase of the Power Play option. You must be 18 years or older to participate in the lottery system in Pennsylvania.