# I guess we have to talk about this Mega Millions thing, huh? Update: At least three winners

#### posted at 10:00 pm on March 30, 2012 by Allahpundit

This is, in fact, officially “news” now that WaPo’s started blast-emailing fluff like this. The drawing’s at 11 p.m. ET in Atlanta. The jackpot? The biggest in the history of the world. Public excitement? Approaching the theoretical levels of a hundred Super Bowls squared.

Be honest. How many of you paid the idiot tax today?

If a single ticket matches all six winning numbers, the player would receive either a one-time payment of \$462 million or the full [\$640 million] jackpot in 26 annual installment payments…

The previous largest Mega Millions jackpot was \$390 million in 2007, which was split between two ticket holders in Georgia and New Jersey…

If no one wins on Friday night, the jackpot will grow to \$975 million. Lottery officials are considering moving the next drawing after Friday to Times Square in New York City as the anticipation and jackpot build, DeFrancisco said.

I didn’t buy a ticket, but in the spirit of the occasion and in the interest of solidarity with hopefuls everywhere, I did pull out a \$10 bill and light it on fire. Say, wait — once the jackpot gets this big, aren’t the odds kinda sorta in your favor? Yes and no.

In theory, since a ticket costs only \$1 and your odds of picking the winning numbers are 1 in 176 million, the lottery should be a reasonable bet when the jackpot climbs past \$176 million. But Ben Casselman points to an analysis by computer scientist Jeremy Elson that lays out some complicating factors. You have to factor in taxes, plus the fact that you get a smaller amount if you ask for an upfront lump sum, plus the risk that you may have to split the winnings with someone else. When the jackpot gets this obscenely large, everyone and their aunt wants to play…

Of course, another strategy would simply be to buy up every single ticket combination. That would cost \$176 million. But you’d be guaranteed to win about \$293 million after taxes. Good deal, right? But there’s one big hitch: “First, if it takes five seconds to fill out each card, you’d need almost 28 years just to mark the bubbles on the game tickets. You’d also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.” (Also, if just one other person picked the winning number, you’d end up losing \$30 million all told.)

To celebrate the moment, via BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, enjoy this video from 2000 of a young state senator, who would never use games of chance to fund his own campaign, furrowing his brow over the way the lottery acts as a regressive tax on the working class. Second look at saving suckers from themselves?

Update: Alas, there’ll be no billion-dollar jackpot drawing in Times Square after all. There are winners in Maryland, Illinois, and Kansas, and maybe more still to be revealed.

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### Breaking on Hot Air

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Bought 10 tickets..

If I win I am going to spend the crap out of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barred on March 30, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Top of the list is Judicial Watch.

NRA

Dingbat63 on March 30, 2012 at 10:38 PM

No no no, im winning and im some money to the nominee because they will need it.

boogaleesnots on March 30, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I bought \$5 worth of tickets.
I hope I don’t win.
I wouldn’t survive the party.

poteen on March 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Seriously…

I don’t play these because I could take the attention..
The media would be surrounding my house…
Asking questions in my face…

And what if I wore a hoodie that day?

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Awwwwwww… I thought you were going to go for this one.

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I thought about this one, but I thought it might be considered a bad sign.

predator on March 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

I got 10 tickets.

If I win, I’m gonna be a jerk and try to get banned from HA. Then, I’ll buy the website, and fire AP.

Ha!

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

couldn’t = could.

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Money (That’s What I Want) The Flying Lizards
**********************************************

canopfor on March 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

The media would be surrounding my house…
Asking questions in my face…

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:39 P

You can remain anonymous, for just that very reason. And many winners do.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:26 PM

.
That’s why investing each annual payment of \$24.6M (before taxes) in a basket of investments designed to double in 8 to 10 years is the way to do it. The purchase of treasury bonds is only for the lottery investment, not the eventual winner.

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

*sigh* buy an island and temp the libs to move there.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

That’s how I got sucked into OEF?

Freaking math!

hawkdriver on March 30, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Got a few buddies over in the Rock Garden, and will be there till the draw down. My cousin in the Air Farce (he’s on my mother side, so that explains it) worked some of the flights to Club Gitty in the 90’s and used to bring home a few gifts that we light up and enjoyed on his porch…before they started to go down in quality.

Good Times.

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

I paid the idiot tax. A couple of quick picks plus one that I picked on my own.

2 26 35 39 42 — Mega 17

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

15 minutes until zero hour.

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

That’s why investing each annual payment of \$24.6M (before taxes) in a basket of investments designed to double in 8 to 10 years is the way to do it. The purchase of treasury bonds is only for the lottery investment, not the eventual winner.

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

You got it. If the jackpot is ~100M or less, take the cash option. If its more, take the annuity. That way, you can be stupid 25 times in a row, and still be millionaire in year 26.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I’ll be off the net for a few — sending my boss a missive since I, in 15 min will be in a DGAS mode.

Dingbat63 on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

If anyone on HA wins, please confirm by depositing 100 million in my account. Contact me at 555-RUC-RAZY and I will furnish account numbers. I will immediately do a reverse wire transfer. No, I am not from Nigeria.

msupertas on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

You can remain anonymous, for just that very reason. And many winners do.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

With all the media attention given to this lottery???

I don’t trust….

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I did pull out a \$10 bill and light it on fire

That knocking at the door, it’s the Secret Service…

Gohawgs on March 30, 2012 at 10:45 PM

You can remain anonymous, for just that very reason. And many winners do.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

That must depend on state. In California you can’t. You agree by accepting the prize to allow your name and likeness to be used for marketing material.

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 10:45 PM

http://finance.yahoo.com/photos/athletes-who-ve-lost-millions-slideshow/
Mike Tyson is one of them. He made over \$400 millions and that was 2/3 of the size of the jackpot that drives the country into a frenzy. He is now bankrupted.

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Ooooh….bad news for ya, ET. Last week they removed all balls from 30 to 39. Sorry.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

I did not buy a ticket. I did not want to run the risk of winning and having Obama say “If I had a very best closest pal, that’s what it would look like.”

Peri Winkle on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

*sigh* buy an island and temp the libs to move there.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Would it be an island that goes underwater at high tide?

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

There will be at least 5 winning tickets. I’ll take one. I’m not greedy.

ManWithNoName on March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

With all the media attention given to this lottery???

I don’t trust….

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Don’t cash it in for 9 or 10 months…let the press move to something more titillating.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

C’mon…Mike Tyson..bankrupt? Who would’ve predicted that?

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM

If one of my 5 quick picks wins tonite, I think it would be fun to set up a superpac and play with the big dawgs. I would call it the HotGas superpac and request more contribution here and we could have some real fun this fall.

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Good Times.

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Yep, good times. Prayers their way. I hope one of their dependents bought the winning ticket.

hawkdriver on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

If I win, I’m buying a Siberian Husky…. and a house with a bigger yard. Those are pretty much plans so far.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I thought about this one, but I thought it might be considered a bad sign.

predator on March 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

.
What a great band! Where the hell is my youth? Wah Wah Wah !!!!!!!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Would it be an island that goes underwater at high tide?

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

If you are going to entice libs to it the coolest one would be one of those Pacific islands with a volcano on it.

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I bought one ticket. You have to at least give it a shot, right?

Emily M. on March 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I thought about donating to a superpac, hadn’t thought of creating one… I’d donate, but I’d just want to stay anonymous.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Don’t cash it in for 9 or 10 months…let the press move to something more titillating.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

With this current administration…
That shouldn’t be a problem :)

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Will the numbers from LOST work on this? If so, wonder how many people are playing it.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM

If I win, I’m buying a Siberian Husky…. and a house with a bigger yard. Those are pretty much plans so far.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Why not just buy Siberia?

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Don’t cash it in for 9 or 10 months…let the press move to something more titillating.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

.
I wouldn’t listen to you! There is a 180 day limit on the redemption, not 9 or 10 months!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:54 PM

What a great band! Where the hell is my youth? Wah Wah Wah !!!!!!!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Probably the same place mine is; way, way behind you. *and it ain’t catching up*

Ponce? Is that you?

predator on March 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM

\$5 spent this week on it. \$5 last week.

Typically, I grab one ticket when I fill up, about once a week.

So, I’ll end up spending about \$60 or so on lotto this year.

Won’t miss the \$60 but. . . if I win.

:)

RedNewEnglander on March 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I spent two bucks for a set of numbers with a megaplier (offered here in Texas). It’s all I’ll be needing to win.

trigon on March 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Why not just buy Siberia?

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Besides purchasing the company of a few dozen escorts, I think I’d try to live modestly.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM

With my 2 chances if I win it’s 50 million to wounded warriors and an F22, the rest for fuel and maintenance!

tim c on March 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Mike Tyson is one of them. He made over \$400 millions and that was 2/3 of the size of the jackpot that drives the country into a frenzy. He is now bankrupted.

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

.
Yeah, but he might have a shot at a career doing a Moe Howard impression!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

I will single handedly be responsible for the economic turn around, I’ll show Obama what stimulus is.

Cindy Munford on March 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

I bought three tickets. If I win, I’m going to buy the Hotair.com domain and have it redirect to goatse.

CoffeeMan on March 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM

3 minutes to doomsday!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM

With all the media attention given to this lottery???

I don’t trust….

Electrongod on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Don’t cash it in for 9 or 10 months…let the press move to something more titillating.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Hounded.. like the beatles.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I just hope somebody wins, I don’t wanna buy another lotto ticket next week.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Yep, good times. Prayers their way. I hope one of their dependents bought the winning ticket.

hawkdriver on March 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Well at the very least trust that they *will* be taken care of if we hit the JP.

At the very least, I want to be able to give to a few of my favorite charities like the USMC Toys for Tots program, Wounded Warrior project, and a few others.

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Be honest. How many of you paid the idiot tax today?

Not I. If I want to throw money away, I have a garbage can in my kitchen.

I’ll gamble on the golf course, there I at least have a chance to break even.

Hog Wild on March 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I think these are the winning numbers

2-4-23-38-46, Megaball is 23

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Ponce? Is that you?

predator on March 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM

.
CHiPs?
.
Anyway, I remember when I discovered that band – and then there was this one.

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Just tried to check the PA lottery website. It’s crashed.

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Nope, its property. It goes to your estate just like any other annuity would. Maybe its different in CA.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Not every annuity has survivor benefits. There are annuities that stop when you die. So read the fine print.

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I did not buy a ticket. I did not want to run the risk of winning and having Obama say “If I had a very best closest pal, that’s what it would look like.”

Peri Winkle on March 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

I’d say back to Obama “If I had a very best closest pal, it wouldn’t be you”.

TulsAmerican on March 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM

If you want to check the winning numbers folks, remember its a multi-state game, so you don’t have to go to just the lottery site in your home state!

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Guys — I know the last one was TL;DR.

Just think — a roulette wheel that stretches from Chicago to New Orleans. You are buying 1-inch slots.

There is no appreciable chance.

This is all based on the human inability to understand large numbers without special training.

Prufrock on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Quicksilver. Wow. That has been a while. *jeez, I’m gettin’ old*

predator on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

There is no appreciable chance.

This is all based on the human inability to understand large numbers without special training.

Prufrock on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Yet someone likely WILL win and have over 600 million dollars.

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Guys — I know the last one was TL;DR.

Just think — a roulette wheel that stretches from Chicago to New Orleans. You are buying 1-inch slots.

There is no appreciable chance.

This is all based on the human inability to understand large numbers without special training.

Prufrock on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Well, in that case, you should go find that universe where Washington said, man, there is almost no chance we can beat the British. Have a nice life there.

astonerii on March 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM

I bought a couple. If I win, I will be pissing off as many people as possible with how I spend it.

MadisonConservative on March 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Texas Lottery site crashed.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Yet someone likely WILL win and have over 600 million dollars.

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

That’s why when it reaches an insane number like today’s it’s worth taking a \$5 shot at it. No, you probably won’t win. But someone IS going to, and you have as good a shot as they do.

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

OMG I WON!!!!!!!!!!

(just kidding)

Barred on March 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Oh well, too bad, Judicial Watch!

disa on March 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Heartbreak… I didn’t win.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

CONGRATS TO ME! I JUST BECAME A MEMBER OF THE 1%!

I totally robbed my neighbor’s house.

sentinelrules on March 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I guess Kucinich has just as good a shot of declaring himself a Republican, jumps in and wins the brokered convention than someone winning the Mega-Millions.

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Just tried to check the PA lottery website. It’s crashed.

chewmeister on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

disa on March 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM

2 4 23 38 46 mega ball 23

Barred on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Well, the HotGas superpac will have to wait for another huge jackpot drawing. The 5 quick picks today only had 4 of the numbers, of which only 2 were on the same line!

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

According to the website, NO ONE won it… Could it end up at \$1 BILLION for the next drawing?!!

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

No island :o(! There goes the country.

tinkerthinker on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Not every annuity has survivor benefits. There are annuities that stop when you die. So read the fine print.

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Here’s the fine print.

The Mega Millions Website says:

9. What happens to Mega Millions payments if the winner dies before collecting?

If a winner dies before receiving all annual payments, Mega Millions will continue to pay the annual payments, as scheduled, to the winner’s designated beneficiary or to the winner’s estate.

Winners who choose the annuity method will receive 26 annual Mega Millions payments. Check with your state lottery for more specific information.

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Edit: I was wrong, the numbers they had up was from the LAST drawing…

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I hope one of you won! wasn’t me

tim c on March 30, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Well, the HotGas superpac will have to wait for another huge jackpot drawing. The 5 quick picks today only had 4 of the numbers, of which only 2 were on the same line!

karenhasfreedom on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I think you won \$2.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Yet someone likely WILL win and have over 600 million dollars.

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Like Lee Trevino said about golf tournaments:

“Somebody’s going to win…why not me?”

BobMbx on March 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

California’s lottery site has now crashed, too.

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

I think you won \$2.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

…. nm… maybe… if one of them is the mega number.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

According to the website, NO ONE won it… Could it end up at \$1 BILLION for the next drawing?!!

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

.
They don’t have tonight’s drawing up yet! LOL !

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Even if you don’t win the Jackpot people, keep reaching for the 2nd tier! \$250k.

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I paid \$3 in idiot tax.

If I win, I’m going to buy a Hot Air Pro account.

Oh, I already have one. Nevermind.

Nethicus on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Virginia is updating its website – or it crashed as well. There is definitely very little interest in \$640M… LOL!

ExpressoBold on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

The numbers for tonight’s MegaMillions record jackpot of \$640 million are:
************

46 – 23 – 38 – 4 – 2 mega ball 23

@NBCNewsStory
Submitted 9 mins ago
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

PHOTO: Mega Millions drawing studio
Submitted 16 mins ago from p.twimg.com

https://p.twimg.com/ApSH9loCMAABtrM.jpg:large

canopfor on March 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

canopfor on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

According to the website, NO ONE won it… Could it end up at \$1 BILLION for the next drawing?!!

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Before or After Obama gets his slice off the top…and bottom?

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Even if you don’t win the Jackpot people, keep reaching for the 2nd tier!

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Did you steal that from Santorum?

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Keep them distracted.

Cleombrotus on March 30, 2012 at 11:17 PM

They are printing the ticket that they sold to Obama right now. It is going into his war chest as we speak… Soro’s offered to buy his 26 annual payments for 98C on the dollar so Obama could get absolute maximum value.

astonerii on March 30, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Dang it…. I really wanted a puppy.

El_Terrible on March 30, 2012 at 11:17 PM

I paid \$0 in idiot tax today.

ted c on March 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Oh well, I didn’t win.

So much for withdrawing from society.

wildcat72 on March 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM

I got a mega + 1, I think that’s what, \$3?

crosspatch on March 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I won. I was at the counter, walked away without buying the ticket. Used the money to buy some Breyers Snickers Ice Cream, which I am now enjoying.

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Did you steal that from Santorum?

galtani on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

You mean, did he swipe it from ME?

BlaxPac on March 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

I did not win.

In fact, in 5 numbers, all I had was the 38.

About par for the course, actually. :)

RedNewEnglander on March 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Some one running an OWS outfit won it……told the bunch he was with to enjoy the cold tents and he might send some c-rations from Bermuda.

Rovin on March 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

2 4 9 19 34 44

Anyone know how I can retract that email I sent my boss a little while ago?

Dingbat63 on March 30, 2012 at 11:23 PM

The lottery should split at a reasonable number and the odds of winning should multiply.

That way no one gets a 175 but 35 people get five million or whatever.

Karmashock on March 30, 2012 at 11:23 PM

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