Big-ticket dreams spurred by $1 billion Powerball jackpot, but expert warns: Take is slow

Jul 18, 2023, 2:07 PM

A man walks by a sign for the lottery in front of a market Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in San Diego. Th...

A man walks by a sign for the lottery in front of a market Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in San Diego. The Powerball jackpot rose yet again to an estimated $1 billion after no winning ticket was sold for the latest drawing. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With the Powerball jackpot topping $1 billion for this week’s drawing, millions of people across the country will be lining up at convenience stores, grocery and gas station counters hoping to hit it big.


The new jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing would be last time someone won the Powerball jackpot was April 19 for a top prize of nearly $253 million. Since then, no one has won the grand prize in the past 38 drawings. The jackpot will keep growing until someone wins.


Pretty much anything you want. A billion dollars could buy you around 200 Bugatti Mistral Roadsters, dozens of eight-seater private jets, or several private islands in the Caribbean. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you could never spend it all, warned Shean Fletcher, a wealth advisor in Kansas City, Missouri.

Among things to keep in mind are that huge jackpots also bring huge tax bills, he said. Not just on the money itself, but high-dollar houses, cars, planes and other property also usually come with big recurring tax and upkeep bills. The idea that lottery winners can just spend lots of money daily forever is a fallacy that has seen more than one lottery winner blow through their winnings, he noted.

“So by far, the biggest misconception that we hear or read and see is, is that the money seems to be infinite when it certainly is not,” Fletcher said.


First and foremost is to secure the winning ticket by putting it in a safe place such as a fireproof safe. Then you should start putting your “team” together, Fletcher advised. That likely includes your closest, most trusted family members, like your spouse, a parent or sibling, as well as a financial adviser, lawyer and certified public accountant. Then you can start making plans on what you want to do with the money.

“After the initial excitement, you know, take a deep breath and take it slow,” Fletcher said.


The $1 billion Powerball top prize is drawing the lion’s share of attention, but the competing Mega Millions lottery jackpot is also reaching massive heights. Ahead of a drawing Tuesday night, that jackpot stood at $640 million, the seventh-largest in the game’s history.


That’s how the games have been designed. The credit for such big jackpots comes down to math — and more difficult odds. In 2015, the Powerball lottery greatly increased the odds of winning from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million. Mega Millions followed two years later, lengthened the odds of winning the top prize from 1 in 258.9 million to 1 in 302.6 million. The largest lottery jackpots in the U.S. have come since those changes were made.


The largest — a whopping $2.04 billion — was a Powerball jackpot that hit on Nov. 8, 2022, with the winning ticket sold in California. The next largest jackpot was also a Powerball prize, at $1.586 billion on Jan. 13, 2016. But that prize was split among three winning tickets, sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. The third, fourth and fifth largest were each Mega Millions prizes, at $1.537 billion going to a single winner in South Carolina on Oct. 23, 2018; $1.35 billion won in Maine earlier this year on Jan. 13; and $1.337 billion won in Illinois on July 29, 2022.


Your odds of winning are only slightly improved by buying more than one ticket. And the odds are so long that it’s certainly not worth spending money you’ll miss for more tickets, experts warn. If buying one ticket gives you a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the jackpot, spending $10 for five number combinations improves your chances to only 5 in 292.2 million. The same is true is you spend $100. So you could spend a lot of money on tickets and still almost undoubtedly not hit the jackpot. Lottery officials say the average player buys two or three tickets, meaning they’re putting money down on a dream with very little chance it will pay off in a jackpot win.


Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Associated Press video journalist Nicholas Ingram in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this story.

United States News

FILE - Students in the new Army prep course stand at attention after physical training exercises at...

Associated Press

The Army is launching a sweeping overhaul of its recruiting to reverse enlistment shortfalls

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army is launching a sweeping overhaul of its recruiting to focus more on young people who have spent time in college or are job hunting early in their careers, as it scrambles to reverse years of enlistment shortfalls. A major part of this is the formation of a new professional force […]

45 minutes ago

Giant panda Xiao Qi Ji eats bamboo in his enclosure at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, ...

Associated Press

Panda Diplomacy: The departure of DC’s beloved pandas may signal a wider Chinese pullback

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wearing a “I Love Pandas” t-shirt and clutching a panda-covered diary, Kelsey Lambert bubbled with excitement as she glimpsed the real thing. She and her mother, Alison, had made a special trip from San Antonio, Texas, just to watch the National Zoo’s furry rock stars casually munching bamboo and rolling around on […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by F...

Associated Press

DeSantis said he would support a 15-week abortion ban, after avoiding a direct answer for months

When Ron DeSantis seemed to say during last week’s Republican presidential debate that he would support a federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, some anti-abortion activists called it the news they had been waiting months to hear. The president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a leading anti-abortion advocacy group, issued a […]

7 hours ago

FILE - This booking photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Michael Duane Zac...

Associated Press

Florida man who murdered women he met in bars set to die by lethal injection

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — A man is scheduled to die by lethal injection over 25 years after he killed women het met in north Florida bars during a dayslong spate of crimes. Michael Zack III is set to die at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the murder of Ravonne Smith, a bar employee he befriended and […]

7 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wi...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden returns to court in Delaware and is expected to plead not guilty to gun charges

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hunter Biden is due back in a Delaware courtroom Tuesday, where he’s expected to plead not guilty to federal firearms charges that emerged after his earlier deal collapsed. The president’s son is facing charges that he lied about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

US Rep. Henry Cuellar carjacked by three armed attackers about a mile from Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, was carjacked Monday night by three armed attackers, his office said. Cuellar’s chief of staff Jacob Hochberg released a statement saying: “As Congressman Cuellar was parking his car this evening, 3 armed assailants approached the Congressman and stole his vehicle. Luckily, he was not harmed and is […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

Big-ticket dreams spurred by $1 billion Powerball jackpot, but expert warns: Take is slow