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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Despite the odds, Ballers think they have all the luck

Tonight’s Powerball jackpot of $340 million is the largest in the game’s history.

Isn’t it funny how 1 in 146,107,962 seems so good when the jackpot is so big?

With the Powerball jackpot reaching a record $340 million, more casual players are stepping up to the counter and playing the game.

The numbers can be misleading, though.

Should a Minnesota winner choose the cash option – a measly $164.4 million – the winner would take home only a little more than $111.3 million after taxes.

Still, the thought of becoming an instant multimillionaire is enough to convince many non-players to consider buying a ticket, no matter the odds.

“(Winning the lottery) is a much lower chance than a lot of things we would regard as almost unbelievably unlikely,” said Doug Arnold, director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University. “Like getting struck by lightning.”

Speaking of odds, large lotteries often draw comparisons to anomalous events more likely to occur. Here’s how the Powerball stacks up to a few notable events.


According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 700,000 – 1 in 240,000 if you estimate the people who either don’t know they were struck or don’t report the strike.

Your odds for dying in a plane crash are even better at 1 in 440,951 in a given year, according to the National Safety Council’s 2002 analysis.

Death by grizzly bear attack? Thankfully, less likely than winning the Powerball.

Aside from the numbers, Arnold had his own opinion about winning the lottery.

“I don’t think for most people winning $340 million would be a particularly good thing in their lives,” he said.

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