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Look, up in the sky ... It's a spy satellite
Monday, November 26, 2012 10:00 AM
Sure, who couldn't use a cool $425 million? That's the estimated amount of Wednesday's Powerball jackpot. That's a record for the game that is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In the next few days expect to see long lines at ticket outlets as Americans rush to buy tickets.
Such a large jackpot causes a lot of excitement, and that is worrisome.
"It's a fairly cheap purchase, and people see winning the large jackpot as a dream that could come true," a lottery official told a USA Today reporter.
Before you begin spending your winnings, consider this...
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. There's a better chance of a Soviet spy satellite falling from the sky and bonking you on the head while you're waiting in line to buy a ticket.
Lottery officials know that such a high jackpot can create problems. They're quick to offer a disclaimer that tells us that the mission of the Hoosier Lottery is to maximize net income for the state in a socially-responsible manner.
It's up to each of us to decide on our own if playing the lottery is socially responsible.
In fiscal year 2012, the Hoosier Lottery generated $211 million in surplus revenue which was used to reduce the motor vehicle excise tax for all Hoosier drivers and also supported the pension funds for retired Indiana teachers, police and firefighters. Player prizes for the fiscal year totaled $533 million and $60 million was earned by Indiana retailers on the sale of Hoosier Lottery products.
Since its inception in 1989, the Hoosier Lottery has produced more than $4 billion for the citizens of Indiana, $1 billion in commissions and bonuses for participating Indiana retailers, and has paid out more than $8.8 billion in player prizes.
Those numbers are impressive. That's all fine and good, but we're more concerned about the players who cannot afford to play, but still purchase tickets on a pipe dream that if they win all of their worries will disappear. We don't know this for a fact, but there's a pretty good chance that managing $425 million presents a whole new set of problems.
Our concern is even greater this time of year when many people feel the pressure of the holidays.
Whether or not you buy a Powerball ticket is your own business. But please play the game responsibly. Don't participate unless you can afford to lose the money you put out to play.
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