Tonight’s Powerball jackpot is worth an estimated $700 million, and while the odds of anyone hitting all five white balls plus the red number are long, there’s zero chance the winning ticket will be sold in Nevada.
That’s because the Silver State still doesn’t have a state lottery, nor participates in the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which operates Mega Millions and Powerball.
Nevada is one of just six states without a lottery, the others being Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Utah. The gambling capital of the US is largely influenced by the casino industry, which employs more Nevadans than any other trade. And casinos don’t like state lotteries.
Nevada’s constitution prohibits the state from conducting a lottery, though charitable organizations are authorized to operate scratch-offs for nonprofit purposes.
The Nevada Resort Association told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the industry opposes any effort to legalize a lottery because it could impact commercial gambling, and therefore hurt jobs. “A state lottery would be a regressive tax which would provide no immediate revenue and does not create quality jobs, and lotteries have not proven to solve revenue problems in other states,” the association opined in a statement.
Tonight’s Powerball jackpot of $700 million is the second-largest lottery jackpot in history, but it’s got a long way to go in order to break the record. In January of 2016, three winning tickets shared a $1.6 billion reward.
Big Jackpots Becoming Routine
In 2015, the Multi-State Lottery Association amended the rules of Powerball. The number of white balls increased from 59 to 69, while the Powerball choices were reduced from 36 to 26.
Some players welcomed the news, thinking it would be easier to hit the jackpot with fewer Powerballs. But like most things that seem too good to be true, just the opposite happened.
The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot went from a slim 1 in 175 million, to a nearly no chance of 1 in 292 million. MUSL championed the new format by explaining that players have better chances of winning small prizes ($4 and $7).
Regardless of the incredibly long lottery odds that make slot machines seem like a good bet, millions of dreamers continue testing their luck at lottery dispensaries in 46 states.
Thirty-three states participate in Powerball, as do the lotteries in Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
The vast majority of Powerball players will lose, while states guarantee they win. And winning big they are.
According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, ticket sales eclipsed $80 billion in 2016, a record in the US. Lottery proceeds support various programs, including general state funds, economic development, senior citizens, veterans, health care, the environment, tax relief, and more.
Powerball tickets cost $2 each. The last drawing (August 19) generated $227,374,398 in sales, meaning over 113.6 million tickets were sold, all of which didn’t hit the six numbers. If no one wins tonight, the next drawing will be on Saturday, August 26.