If you’ve recently visited the United States of America, you couldn’t have done so without hearing about the sky high Powerball lottery which, as of this writing, is hovering at $1.4 billion (USD).

That’s the largest jackpot in US lottery history and it’s certain to climb even higher as the week rolls on.

Anyone in the gambling business, especially the US-facing side, should have a soft spot for state sponsored lotteries because they unquestionably opened the door to other forms of regulated American gambling.

Of course most forms of legalized gambling offer much better odds of winning than the Powerball ever will. If you’re thinking that the odds of winning the Powerball are in your favor, here are a few things you might want to consider.

The Odds Are Never in Your Favor

What’s the worst casino table game wager you can come up with? At most casinos, that honor is held by Keno, which carries a whopping house edge of between 25%-29%, according to the Wizard of Odds.

That means the casino can expect to make about $25 off of every $100 that’s wagered on the game. Powerball players face a house edge that’s more like 50%. Would you ever take a wager like that in a casino?

Lump Sum or Annuity

So you’ve beaten the odds and now you’re holding the winning ticket in your hands. That means you have to choose whether to take that cash in a lump sum or an annuity.

If you take the lump sum, that $1.3 billion turns into around $868 million. Once the Federal and state governments take their share, you’ll only be sitting on a mere $486 million.

If you take the annuity, you’ll get around $49 million up front, and another $35 million (give or take) every year for the next few decades.

Which option you should actually go with depends on how good you are at investing, and not blowing, your new found fortune.

Beating the Curse

Speaking of new found fortune, it might not be all good news for you. You could fall prey to the dreaded, “lottery curse.” That curse has driven more than 70% of all lottery winners into bankruptcy within seven years of cashing in the winning ticket.

Money, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.

Regardless, with your odds at somewhere around 292.2 million to one, this is a problem you probably won’t have to worry about.


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