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A Powerball lottery ticket is seen in a convenience store in Washington on November 26, 2012. The previous drawing resulted in no winner, setting up for the record setting prize when numbers will be drawn on Wednesday. Tickets are sold in 42 US states, Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands.
Tonight’s Powerball drawing could make some lucky winner very happy – maybe.
The national lottery has gone 16 weeks without a winner, increasing the jackpot to a cool half billion plus, the most it’s ever been and second only to last April’s $656 million MegaMillions prize. Maybe you’re one of those dashing off to the corner liquor store for a ticket, or setting up an uneasy alliance with co-workers to increase your chances.
But it won’t help that much – the odds of winning now stand at about 1 in 175 million. As some have pointed out, you’re more likely to get hit by an asteroid. And for those who have won in the past, the story doesn’t always end happily.
Squandered fortunes, lost friends, failed marriages and emotional distress have plagued past winners who weren’t able to handle the pressures of sudden, inconceivable wealth. Winning office pools have turned ecstatic colleagues into bloodthirsty sharks, with ‘lottery lawyers’ eating up major portions of the profits in protracted legal squabbles.
How would you spend the money if you won? How would you stay grounded? What would those millions mean to you, your family and your way of life?
Matt Sweeney, author of The Lottery Wars: Long Odds, Fast Money, and the Battle Over an American Institution.