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The Daily Tar Heel

Powerball jackpot highest in American history

The jackpot for the Powerball lottery has reached an astounding $1.5 billion — if claimed as a lump sum, the value of the prize is an estimated $930 million. Winners can either claim their prize in the form of a one-time payment or be paid the full value of the winnings over the course of 30 years.

The jackpot reaching record-breaking proportions is no accident — last fall, the Multi-State Lottery Association decreased the odds of winning from approximately 1 in 175 million to 1 in more than 290 million.

To win the jackpot, players must choose the same five numbers and Powerball drawn by lottery officials on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

Despite the odds, first year biology major Megan Kuhn said she’d buy a ticket.

“It’s $2, why not?” she said.

If she won, she said she’d drop out of school and use the money to travel the world.

Political science major Luke De Mott had a clear idea of what he would do with the nearly $1.5 billion in winnings.

“I’d probably pay for all of my education and rent an apartment in the Marina District of San Francisco and live there,” De Mott said.

Despite the whopping payout, he said he still doesn’t think he’ll buy a lottery ticket in the future.

“It depends on the price of the actual thing. But if it was anywhere above a buck, I probably wouldn’t,” he said.

As might be expected, Powerball ticket sales have skyrocketed since the prize increased.

“If you look at the drawing that happened on the sixth of January and then the drawing that happened on the ninth of January, ticket sales in North Carolina doubled just between those two drawings because of how big the jackpot was getting,” said Kathleen Jacob, spokesperson for the North Carolina Lottery.

But the big winner won’t be the only one to reap the benefits of the massive jackpot.

“In North Carolina, we’ve generated over $65 million in Powerball ticket sales and of that $65 million, $25 million of that will be going to education,” Jacob said.

She also added that these numbers do not include revenue after the last drawing on Jan. 9.

Despite the lure of the jackpot, Jacob urges any would-be millionaire to be reasonable when buying tickets.

“You will see people buying three or five tickets at a time, but our official stance is that it only takes one ticket to win — the most important thing is that it’s for fun and it’s raising money for education,” she said.

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