Let's first get out of the way the fact that the lottery is a tax on poor people. Those who can do simple math understand the odds are against them, though it's widely played by low-income Americans hoping to break free from debt and poverty.
The lottery preys upon hopes and dreams. With a one in 292 million odds of winning tonight's $1.9 billion Powerball jackpot (yet another record), imagine all the people tapping their resources to play the silly game that most everyone will lose.
Advancing Time blog's Bruce Wilds said Americans are being inflicted with "lotto madness" as the Powerball jackpot continues to soar. He said, "for many people a Powerball ticket is a cheap trip down fantasy lane for the poor it is throwing away money they can't afford."
The Powerball lottery jackpot continues to grow after no winning tickets were sold for Saturday's drawing of an estimated $1.6 billion. The last winner was on Aug. 3 in Pennsylvania.
Tonight's Powerball jackpot drawing, at 10:59 ET, comes after 40 straight drawings without a winner. As the jackpot grows, so do the hopes and dreams of those who think they can strike it rich overnight.
The failure of anyone to win America's premier and largest lottery ever has caused the Powerball jackpot to soar creating a phenomenon that could be called "Lotto Madness." The fact this has spread like a fire and swept across America reveals something very significant about our culture. While this might not reach the level of needing a post-event "debriefing" a closer look at how these large lotteries affect our culture may be important and meaningful.
How people react to the idea of winning a large sum of money exposes more than a few flaws and insight into our values and the way we think. It seems that society has reached the place where it thinks the road to riches is not through the valley of hard work and savings and that wealth can be achieved without sacrifice. -- Bruce Wilds
Suppose there is a winner. The math works out that they can choose between 30 annual payments of $39.9 million after federal taxes or an immediate cash payout of $929 million.
Last week, we outlined (read: here) how the next Powerball jackpot winner should go with a lump sum payout due to a souring macroeconomic backdrop with elevated inflation.
Quartz pointed out, "the actual cash value of the Powerball jackpot, as a percentage of what Powerball advertises as the jackpot, is lower than it's been in a decade. And that's before adjusting for inflation," Quartz.
The current jackpot is the largest in Powerball history, surpassing 2016 one.
1. $1.9 Billion (Est.) - Nov. 7, 2022
2. $1.586 Billion Jan. 13, 2016 CA, FL, TN
3. $768.4 Million Mar. 27, 2019 WI
4. $758.7 Million Aug. 23, 2017 MA
5. $731.1 Million Jan. 20, 2021 MD
6. $699.8 Million Oct. 4, 2021 CA
7. $687.8 Million Oct. 27, 2018 IA, NY
8. $632.6 Million Jan. 5, 2022 CA, WI
9. $590.5 Million May 18, 2013 FL
10. $587.5 Million Nov. 28, 2012 AZ, MO
Here are all the Powerball jackpots in the last two decades.
The Powerball Jackpot's whopping size spreads like wildfire across all US media outlets. Here's a spike in news stories.
Americans are in a frenzy about the largest-ever jackpot. Google search trends are surging about "when is the next Powerball."
Bruce Wilds concluded: "During times of massive well-publicized jackpots, people use money that was intended to pay rent and even the food stamp money given to them by taxpayers to buy tickets. Bottom-line this is indeed madness."
Just remember, the odds of winning tonight are one in 292 million odds... You have better odds of being struck by lightning.