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Powerball Players Are Winning

Mega Millions Players Are Losing!

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Originally Posted: March 18, 2005

CNN Reports ...

Powerball players on record streak

Despite ridiculous odds (you can't count that high), players
are winning at highest rate since 1997

March 18, 2005: 9:54 AM EST
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN/Money senior writer
Also CNN/International

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – The chances of winning the Powerball jackpot may be stunningly long at 1 in 120 million. But more and more gamblers are beating the odds.

There have been six winners since Jan. 1 and a total of 12 since July 1, the start of fiscal year 2005, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which administers Powerball, Instant Millionaire, Wildcard 2 and other games.

(Inserted by Lotto Report - Since Jan 1, 2005, there have only been (2) Mega Millions winners and because the Mega Millions group is increasing the odds to an astounding 175.7 million-to-one, there will be even fewer winners!)

There were 12 jackpot winners for all of fiscal year 2004. If the trend holds, there could be a record 17 winners this fiscal year, according to the Chuck Strutt, the association's executive director.

What accounts for the streak? "It's just luck of the draw," Strutt said.

The last time Lady Luck showered such attention on Powerball players was fiscal year 1997, when a total of 15 people took away the prime prize.

Smaller pots, but nothing to sneeze at.

A jackpot win, no matter the size of the pot, is more cash than most people will see in a lifetime, even after taxes. But the pots won since last July have averaged just under $60 million, which is small relative to the headline-screaming jackpots of years past.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever won was $315 million back in 2002.

If you think it's a good strategy to buy more than one Powerball ticket per drawing, think again -- unless you're willing to pony up the cash for, say, 120 million tickets – giving you 1-in-1 odds -- or even 60 million tickets for 1-in-2 odds. It's unlikely that buying 10, 50 or even a 100 tickets will do much to improve your chances of winning.

But take heart. "It just takes one to win," Strutt said.

Since the game started in April 1992, 196 people have hit the jackpot, for total winnings of over $6 billion.

Powerball, the No. 1 lottery played in the United States, is played in 26 states. MegaMillions, an equally popular lottery, is played in 11 states (soon to be 12 when California joins later this year).

According to a recent report from the Tax Foundation, the average American spent more on lotteries in 2002 than on reading materials or movies, and more than half of Americans play the odds.

Citing a 1997 gambling study, the Tax Foundation report noted that while people of all incomes play the lottery, those with incomes under $10,000 spent nearly three times as much as those with incomes over $50,000.

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