The $700 million Powerball jackpot prize certainly is enticing, but what are the chances of winning the grand prize?
Lottery hopefuls have a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning. According to Jeffrey Miecznikowski, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, the odds of getting all the winning combinations correctly are almost the same as the odds of flipping a coin and getting heads 28 times in a row.
The odds of winning come from all the different winning 5-ball combinations “multiplied by 26, because for every five-ball combination you’ve got 26 different associated Powerballs,” Miecznikowski explained.
Your odds of winning the $500 million Powerball jackpot are one in 292.2 million https://t.co/aWSeW6yxAz
— New York Post (@nypost) January 6, 2016
The probability of winning the $1.4 billion jackpot on Wednesday is the same as that of winning in November, when the prize was only $40 million. However, the expected return is much bigger now than before. The expected return is calculated by multiplying your odds of winning by the payout amount. For one Powerball ticket ($2) with a one-in-a-292-million chance of winning $1.4 billion, your expected return is almost $5 on that $2 ticket.
However, the results are a little deceiving. The winner will only get $1.4 billion if he/she chooses to be paid in installment for 30 years. If they claim the entire prize money at once, the amount will only be $868 million because of tax deductions.
Powerball jackpot up to $1.5B now. Lump sum is $930 million. Federal income taxes = 39.6%. Then state/local. https://t.co/AdMNaYlFHZ
— Oskar Garcia (@oskargarcia) January 12, 2016
Does buying multiple tickets better the chances of winning the Powerball jackpot? The odds will increase with the purchase of more tickets but the probability of winning is still very small. Buying 10 tickets increases your odds of winning by 10 times, according to Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University.
However, the odds are really small that 100 multiplied buy that number is unlikely to win. This does not change even if one buys a million tickets.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 12, 2016
If you are thinking of buying all possible winning numbers, you would only end up losing money as it would cost you $584 million. There are also taxes to be subtracted, and you must also consider the possibility of splitting the prize if another ticket holder hits the same Powerball jackpot combination.