New Year Kicks off with Powerball Fever

Thursday, January 14, 2016 Written by 
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The $1.5 billion jackpot -- the largest in U.S. lottery history -- has generated an insane amount of buzz, which hopefully culminated in a grand prize winner or two on Wednesday night—or not!  


The last time the lottery game produced a winner was Nov. 7, 2015.  There have been 19 drawings with no winner. 


Since Powerball made the odds of winning harder, the growing jackpot has been attracting more players, including those from states where Powerball does not exist.  


Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Alabama and Mississippi do not have lotteries of any kind.  Some of the biggest ticket sales, Powerball officials say, come from border cities. AP reported that one man drove 45 minutes Monday from Henderson, Nevada, to buy tickets in Nipton, California. He waited three hours to spend $20 for 10 tickets.


Anyone who plays Powerball should take note of these helpful hints:


First, you're more likely to be struck by lightning -- while drowning -- than to win the lottery. Each ticket has a 1 in 292 million chance of having the right six-digit combination.


The jackpot prize is only worth the amount advertised when it's paid out over 30 years. If a winner takes a one-time lump sum, the value is significantly reduced, even before taxes.  


Less than 10 percent of players choose their own numbers.  There is no evidence that choosing your own numbers will give you an advantage over having your numbers generated randomly by a machine, officials say.  


Don't toss your ticket! Even lottery tickets with a partial match can pay out a prize of as much as $1 million. About one in every 25 tickets can win either $1 million, $50,000, $100, $7 or $4. 


Not all winners have happy endings. If you hit the jackpot, keep it quiet until you have a game plan. Lottery officials recommend assembling a team of financial experts before claiming your prize. 


And if you don't want to be thrust into the spotlight or get hit up for cash, try to stay anonymous. There are a few states that don't release the names of lottery winners. Otherwise, a winner could create a trust that can claim the prize to stay under the radar.


Good luck! 


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