It seems no one is immune to the allure of cold, hard cash.
Even in the uber-rich enclave of Beverly Hills, California, where the median home value is $3.1 million, locals are flocking to gas stations and drug stores to pick up Powerball tickets, the Los Angeles Times reports.
At the Beverly Hills Rite-Aid, a worker noticed an “‘overwhelming’ number of wealthy buyers.” The tip-off? Expensive clothes.
For some potential buyers, though, running the actual errand may not be worth the time. Instead, they’re sending their employees — gardeners and housekeepers — to purchase the tickets on their behalf, the LA Times says.
“The national phenomenon that is this Powerball drawing has people of all socioeconomic backgrounds rushing to ticket agents for their chance at the grand prize,” the Association of California School Administrators told the newspaper.
Traditionally, lower-income consumers are the primary lottery participants: according to a Cornell University study, the combination of low-price entertainment and high-potential payout makes playing the lottery an attractive pastime for those dreaming of bigger things with little to spend. It’s called the “desperation hypothesis,” and it rarely works out well for those on the lower end of the income spectrum.
But $1.5 billion is big bucks even for run-of-the-mill millionaires, so this year’s Powerball is attracting an unusually broad demographic.
The winning ticket — drawn at 10:59 p.m. ET tonight — offers a $1.5 billion jackpot, the largest in lottery history.
Probability of a win is slim, experts agree. Your chances are an astronomically small one in 292.2 million; you’re 246 times more likely to be struck by lightning. So those with the means are stacking their odds by purchasing thousands of dollars of tickets, all at $2 a pop.