How About a Billion Dollar Jackpots?
Would you start playing the lottery more if you could win a billion dollars? Oh yes, you read that correctly, I said BILLION dollars! Would you believe me if I told you that this could happen sooner than you think? Why, in early February, the Powerball reached $500 million, which is the third-largest Powerball jackpot in history. Of course, this is not the first time any lottery has gotten so large. April 2012’s Mega Millions jackpot was $656 million—and three lucky people cashed in on the prize!
First Ever Billion Dollar Lottery
You can stop wondering about the billion-dollar payday because it happened just a few short months ago in Spain! December 2014, Spaniards who purchased lotto tickets for the “El Gordo” lotto in Madrid were the winners of the largest jackpot ever worldwide—€2.5 billion ($3 billion). The prize was divided among thousands of winners, with 100 of those winners being in the same neighborhood! Of course, in this instance, no one person won a billion dollars—it will be divided amongst the winners.
However, the first-ever billion dollar raffle was launched in the summer of 2014, and the drawing will be in the summer of 2015. This particular raffle (which is kind of like a lottery) will allow one of three ticket holders to win a cash prize while they discretely contribute funds for Disaster Relief and Philanthropic projects. The raffle has studied data from lotteries, sweepstakes, and other prize drawings from around the world. They have collected the data to create a unique model that coincides with legal requirements in every jurisdiction, as well as be a success from the marketing and revenue side.
Previous Large Jackpots
Around the world, there are millions (if not billions) of people playing the lottery at any given time. It is surprising that the jackpots have not gotten in the billions already. They have come incredibly close though. US lotteries have gotten to over half a billion dollars five times within the last 3 years alone.
• $656 million Mega Millions on March 30, 2012
• $648 million Mega Millions on December 17, 2013
• $590.5 million Powerball on May 18, 2013
• $587.5 million Powerball on November 28, 2012
• $564.1 million Powerball on February 11, 2015
Although it seems like playing the Mega Millions and Powerball is a better bet to get close to a billion dollars, some European lotteries have gotten quite large as well.
• £161.7 (€185 million/$260 million) million EuroMillions on July 12, 2011
• €140 (£148.7 million/$234 million) million EuroMillions on October 24, 2014
The Future of Lottery
Just by looking at these numbers, it is clear to see that the jackpot can only keep rising, that is, if people continue to play. It is a common belief that when the lottery does not have a high payout, people are less likely to play. Which may be true, why play when the jackpot is low? This thought process is called “jackpot fatigue,” which means that people are not interested until the winnings are substantial.
I do not know what substantial is… Even if you won a $100,000 prize, isn’t that $100,000 more than you had yesterday?