The Powerball lottery is hitting a record jackpot of $1.5 billion, but the odds are stacked against you. Lottery officials have announced the Powerball jackpot has reached a record-smashing $1.5 billion. Imagine you walked in to Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium and placed a penny on the field somewhere. Many people play birthday numbers so choosing higher, less-popular numbers decreases the chances of sharing the pot.
Lefton says very few mathematicians like himself spring for tickets because they are the first to know the odds are so astronomically against them. But talking about odds, keep this into consideration when March Madness rolls around: You're 100 times more likely to win the Powerball twice in a row than you are selecting a perfect NCAA basketball bracket. The record-breaking $380 million Mega Millions multistate lottery jackpot drawing this week had two winners and may inspire more people to take a chance on being a millionaire.
Each year, millions of people lose billions of dollars in NCAA March Madness basketball pools.

While this article mentions the odds of your numbers matching the winning ones, it doesn't contemplate the expected payback. NBC NewsThe Publix in Zephyrhills, Florida, where the winning ticket was sold.Do you have the lucky ticket? One was in Chino Hills, California (a small suburb east of Los Angeles┬áthat’s also the sixth richest medium-sized city in America, whatever that means).
That has sent fortune-seeking Americans to gas stations and grocery stores in droves to try their luck. Lew Lefton from Georgia Tech's school of Mathematics crunches numbers like these for a living.
Then, you asked a friend to put on a blindfold and walk into the stadium with a penny as well. If all ten landed on the same number the very first time you tried, that's still five times more likely than winning the $1.5 billion dollar jackpot. You're 500 times more likely to get a royal flush in the first five cards you are dealt than taking home the big prize.

The winning ticket for the $590 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, Fla., just south of Tampa.
If they placed the penny in the exact same location, that would be 15 times more likely to happen than winning the Powerball jackpot. By my rough calculation a football field has 80 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 points, which if the center point of the second penny was "on" it, would correspond to "exact" overlap.
But we know even when the probability is so low, the chances of hitting it with a ball are very high. This means your chances of winning Powerball are 600 000 000 000 000 greater than "exactly" picking the right spot. That prize was split between winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.The store where the winning ticket was sold will receive an $85,000 bonus commission, according to Shelly Gerteisen, a spokeswoman for the Florida Lottery.

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