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Sunday Spin2: About those Powerball odds

Whenever a jackpot in one of the nation’s state-sanctioned numbers games, officially known as lotteries, approaches the stratosphere, reporters are asked to explain the odds of winning. Being notoriously bad at math, we often find some college professor to explain the formula then turn it into a simile, such as “it’s like being attacked by a grizzly and struck by lightning as you hit a golf ball for a hole-in-one.”

What we try to say, without actually spelling it out: It’s pretty much a sucker’s bet. Washington and other states, however, have extensive campaigns to convince people that they could beat the odds by plunking down a dollar or two.

So the Washington Lottery Commission must be ecstatic about Lisa and Everett Quam, who live near Auburn but could have come straight from Central Casting. They won the $90 million Powerball drawing the weekend after Thanksgiving. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog

 

Idaho gets 3rd $1 million Powerball winner in 3 weeks

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Lottery officials say a ticket sold in Bonneville County in southeastern Idaho has won $1 million in Wednesday's Powerball drawing. It is the third time in five drawings that a ticket sold in Idaho has won $1 million.

Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson says the winning ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball. On July 10, Audrey and David Eckert of Boise won $1 million while a Salt Lake City-area man, Mike Middlemiss, and his son, Chris, won a $1 million prize in the July 13 drawing.

I've never purchased a lottery ticket in my life. Perhaps, I should start.
How often do you buy Powerball tickets?

Idaho gets third $1 million Powerball winner in 3 weeks

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Lottery officials say a ticket sold in Bonneville County in southeastern Idaho has won $1 million in Wednesday's Powerball drawing. It is the third time in five drawings that a ticket sold in Idaho has won $1 million. Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson says the winning ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball. On July 10, Audrey and David Eckert of Boise won $1 million while a Salt Lake City-area man, Mike Middlemiss, and his son, Chris, won a $1 million prize in the July 13 drawing.

Otter welcomes 10th straight record dividend from state lottery

The Idaho Lottery presented its 10th straight record dividend to the state today, handing over $48.2 million from lottery proceeds for the state’s schools and state buildings for the year. “The weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot – your Idaho Lottery is sizzling, too,” said Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. “We just completed our best year in our 24-year history.” Plus, he said, the Lottery’s record “remains unblemished.” Gov. Butch Otter recalled 1989 and 1990, when Idaho voters first approved the lottery amid much controversy. “The biggest concern … was whether or not it would be able to maintain the honesty, the integrity and the value that was suggested in our efforts,” he said. “The citizens gave their trust. … How  proud I am… that integrity has never fallen into question.” He added, “I continue to hear great reports from other states about how well our lottery is operated.”

Checks presented at a ceremony in the governor’s office included $18.075 million each to the state Department of Education and state Permanent Building Fund, and $12.05 million to the bond levy equalization fund, which matches a portion of school districts’ bond repayment costs and marks the largest allocation yet to that fund, which last year got about $7 million. Otter credited current House Speaker Scott Bedke, who proposed the split for the bond fund as a lawmaker in 2009 before he was elected speaker. Said Otter, “I can tell you the folks at the local level utilize this in their financial planning.”

The Idaho Lottery recently saw two million-dollar winning Powerball tickets sold in the state in a week – a highly unusual series of back-to-back big winners. Said Anderson, “You’ve got to be in it to win it, and these folks were.” Otter noted that not only did the state sell tickets to two lucky winners, it also gets income tax on those winnings. That’s true for both the Idaho couple and the Utah resident who won the prizes; the Utahn must pay Idaho income tax on the income that comes from Idaho.

The Idaho Lottery still has 47 employees – the same number it had when it started in 1989. This year’s dividend to the state is 16.1 percent over last year’s, at nearly $7 million more. Otter told lottery officials and their staff, “From a grateful Idaho, thank you.”

Powerball jackpot climbs to $600M, lines expected for ticket buyers

The Idaho Lottery is expecting lines of ticket-buyers into the weekend as the jackpot for Saturday night’s Powerball drawing hits a record $600 million. It’s the second-biggest jackpot on record, eclipsed only by the $646 million Mega Millions jackpot handed out in March of 2012. “We want to strongly emphasize to everyone to please play responsibly,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery director. “Enjoy the games and imagine what you might do if you win, but please only play what you can afford.”

The Powerball tickets can be purchased until 7:55 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday; they cost $2 apiece. Lottery officials encourage ticket buyers to sign their tickets right away; lottery tickets are “bearer instruments,” so whoever signs and presents the winning ticket for payment will get paid.

The largest Powerball jackpot collected by an Idaho winner to date was $220,300 in May of 2005. Powerball is a multi-state game played in all but seven states.

AZ Powerball winner’s name released

Arizona Lottery Director of Budget, Products and Communications Karen Bach, left, and Arizona Lottery Executive Director Jeff Hatch-Miller stand next to an enlargement of the winning $587.5 Million Powerball ticket, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 during a news conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

PHOENIX — The second winner of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot was identified today as Matthew Good, a married man in his 30s who moved to an affluent Phoenix suburb last year from Pennsylvania.

Good had decided to remain anonymous, but lottery winners in Arizona are a matter of public record. The Associated Press filed a public records request to learn his name.

Good took the one-time payout of $192 million from the Nov. 28 drawing, telling lottery officials the looming fiscal cliff was the reason he claimed the winnings now and not in the next calendar year. He had 180 days to claim the jackpot.

Lottery officials wouldn’t say what Good does for a living but described him as a professional who has no immediate plans to quit his job. Read more.

If you'd won the Powerball jackpot would you have taken your winnings in a one-time payout?

Boise woman claims $1 milion Powerball prize

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― A Boise woman who took a chance on winning the $597.5 million Powerball jackpot last week is thrilled with her $1 million runner-up prize. Susan Worthington appeared at a press conference announcing her win Tuesday at the Albertsons store in West Boise where she bought her ticket, which matched all the white balls, but not the Powerball. Worthington, a 63-year-old recent retiree, says her first big purchase was an $80 keyless entry remote for her car. She says she plans to spend some of the money to finish up the kitchen and do some landscaping at the house she just purchased after moving to Boise from Yakima, Wash., in January. Worthington says the winnings will allow her to retire comfortably. She says her 83-year-old mother urged her to buy the tickets. Click below for the Idaho Lottery's full announcement.

One Idaho ticket buyer won $1 million in Powerball, two others get $10K each

One Idaho Powerball lottery ticket buyer in Boise has won $1 million, Idaho Lottery officials say, and two other tickets, sold in Caldwell and Meridian, won $10,000 each. That's among the nearly 57,000 winning tickets sold in the state for the big $587.5 million Powerball jackpot, the AP reports; the two big winners who will split the jackpot are from Arizona and Missouri. Winners have 180 days to claim their prizes.

Winning $1 million required matching the first five numbers in the drawing; winning $10,000 required matching four of the first five and the Powerball number.

81YO RI Woman Wins $336M Jackpot

Louise White, right, 81 from Newport, R.I., is presented a check for $336 million by Gerald Aubin, left, director of the state's lottery, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee, center, at Rhode Island Lottery headquarters in Cranston, R.I., Tuesday. White won last month's $336.4 million Powerball jackpot, sleeping with the winning ticket in her Bible until coming forward to claim the sixth-largest U.S. prize on Tuesday, a family representative said. Story here. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

Question: Do you play Powerball regularly?

Powerball Tickets Increasing To $2

Joe Butler: "A friend shared this news on Facebook and at first I thought it was a bad online rumor but I verified that it’s going to be twice as painful to lose at Powerball now – the ticket price doubles to $2 on Jan. 15. There’s not much else you can get for a buck (or two), and it’s nice to have that quick 'what if moment' – plus your odds of playing really do rise if you actually play. Idaho Lottery announcement here.

Question: Will you mind paying twice as much for your Powerball tickets?