February 7, 2023

What the heck is this Powerball raffle all about?

By John Guy LaPlante

I thought the State of California operates an annual raffle called the Powerball. Wrong!

Powerball is operated in some 40 states. But their state governments have nothing to do with it. It’s all free enterprise. For the backers, whoever they are, to maximize their take.

It raises money for this good thing and that good thing. No, no, no! As I just said, they do it to line their pockets.

Check to see if you won: https://www.powerball.com/games/home

Well, the latest just paid off with a winning jackpot of $699 million! Hey, that’s more than two-thirds of $1 trillion dollars! Unimaginable! True.

It is the fifth-largest payoff in Powerball’s history and one of the very largest nationwide. True.

Oh, the lump sum payoff will be just $496 million. It will be a full $699 million if the winner settles for that as one of the optional payouts. There are several amortization plans.

Now just think of the millions of tickets sold. The Powerball has 23,200 dealers. Some sell just hundreds of tickets. The price is just $2 per play. Some sell many, many thousands of them. True.

There were more than 281,000 other winners with smaller prizes right down to $5 and $2.

It is amazing how many rascals and swindlers Powerball has attracted. Police get many complaints. These crooks offer a variety of tempting schemes to known winners of Powerball to steal as much of their money as they can. You should hang up on these sweet talkers. Better still, tell them you will call the police.

Remember. Powerball is played not only in most of our states, but in other countries also. Our neighbor Canada is one of them. Again, their government is not part of the deal.

As hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to figure out why it’s called Powerball. Yes, a ball is involved as a key part of the lottery. Some cynics say it’s a take-off on “Parable”, as Parable of the Gospel.

Now here is the real big news. Totally true. The winning ticket was purchased right here in little Morro Bay, population 15,000, which is where I now live, as many of you know. In my own place, with just a little help from my loving daughter Monique and her hubby David.

The October 4, 2021 winning ticket had the following numbers: 12/22/54/66/69

Maybe the person who won had bought just one ticket. Maybe dozens. As I said, raffle tickets are cheap, only $2 per. The best way to improve your odds is to buy many. Even better, many, many, many. Though your chances will still be slim.

Now notice the official wording again:  The winning ticket was sold here. That doesn’t mean the winner was somebody here in town. It could have been somebody visiting here from Timbuktu. Powerball doesn’t care. The more buyers, the better.

Just think:  There are 23,200 raffle dealers in California alone.

I haven’t been able to pin down how much this latest Powerball raffle has raised in California for its sponsors, or in the other states, or other countries where it is offered.

Now for me, the biggest news is that the winning ticket was bought at Albertsons, our biggest supermarket in town. Albertsons is just 15 minutes down the street. I’m a customer there.

And Albertsons will receive $1 Million for having sold the winning ticket. Again, this is because it is Powerball’s strategy to boost the number of outlets selling tickets.

I’ll bet there are a dozen other outlets in town, little ones, that are selling Powerball tickets.

I’ve been scratching my head to figure out who there might have sold the winning ticket. Certainly not the clerk in Produce. Or the one in Cheeses. Or the one in Wines and Liquors. So who? Who?

Albertsons is a national chain. Maybe the $1 Million will go to corporate headquarters. So it will wind up as just a small increase in its annual financial report.

KSBY News:  ‘Who was it?’ Morro Bay abuzz over winning Powerball Lottery ticket

It’s been great publicity for Powerball.

Another thing I’d like to know is whether the winning ticket buyer’s identity will be made public.

Maybe we’ll find out if So and So, the co-manager of our McDonald’s down the street, where I go every afternoon for my cup of coffee, is suddenly taking off for a year with his wife and kids, his family with mom and dad and brothers and sisters, her family with her whole tribe, for a one-year luxury tour around the world.

I think making his identity known would be very unwise, and for lots of reasons.

Anyway, for the last couple of nights I’ve been dreaming of what I would do if I had won that giant jackpot. That’s been a lot of fun.

What would you do? I think you too would find that fun.

One more thing. I’ve mentioned a lot of hard facts here. No way could I have come up with all of this info on my own.

The smartest thing I did was to look it up on wonderful Wikipedia, which is a free service, as we know. But Wikipedia asked me to make a donation. That suggested they would give me better service. They offered a choice of donations. The cheapest was $16.70.  An odd sum. I paid with my credit card. I like Wikipedia.

But even then I couldn’t nail down why the raffle is called Powerball, or what the darn Powerball is.

I’ll bet I’ll get an email thank you from Wikipedia tomorrow. Maybe with an explanation.

I’ve never bought a Powerball ticket. Not even at $2. Never will. Oh, sure, I’ll buy a raffle ticket from our Senior Center, or Library, or the local Rotary Club, if they ask me. But that’s my limit. And none of these use a Powerball.

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