The multi-state Mega Millions lottery has reached a massive jackpot of $325 million. People are flocking to buy $1 tickets before the 11:00 pm EST drawing tonight.
Should you play?
The chances of winning the top prize — the third largest ever — with a single ticket are a bit more than 175 million to 1.
Taxes will take half of whatever you win. So if you only buy one ticket and you’re the only winner, you’ll get net winnings of about $163 million. You would need to get more than $175 million to justify taking 175-million-to-1 odds.
If you split the top prize, meanwhile, the payout would be even worse. Probably much worse.
So, as usual, playing the lottery is dumb. It sure is tempting, though.
Of course, some people should seriously consider playing. Here’s are list of folks who could use a little cash infusion:
- Sheila Bair — the FDIC could use it
- Barack Obama — the deficit needs a little trimming
- Ben Bernanke — identity theft hurts
- AIG — time to pay back some of those billions
- Vikram Pandit — it’s been a tough year
- Allen Stanford — the man needs a lawyer
- Michael Vick — bankruptcy and Ponzi schemes hurt
- Lenny Dykstra — “Nails” needs to stop sleeping in a car
- Walter Noel — Fairfield Greenwich lost a lot of money
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