Professors offer insight into odds of winning $550 million Powerball jackpot, subsequent legal issues

The Powerball jackpot is up to $550 million, but what are the odds of actually winning?

Professor Cornelius Nelan

Cornelius Nelan, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University, is available to discuss Powerball jackpot odds.

Nelan provides some context about the odds of the Powerball lottery: “The game consists of picking five balls from a vat of 59 balls (5,006,386 ways to do this) and then one ball (the Powerball) from a vat of 35 balls to make a total of 175,223,510 possible combinations, so you have a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of winning the big prize, if you buy one ticket. There are eight other ways to win. If you get the five numbers without the Powerball (1 in 5,006,386 chance of doing this), you win $1,000,000. If you get the Powerball, but none of the other balls (1 in 35 chance of doing this), you win $4. Overall there is a 1 in 31.85 chance of winning some prize.

Unlike the Mega Millions, a Powerball ticket cost $2, which dramatically increases the amount of money the lottery takes in. On average, the state pays out less than 50 cents in winning on every $2 ticket.”

Professor John Thomas

 John Thomas, a professor in the Quinnipiac University School of Law, is also available to discuss some of the legal issues lottery jackpot winners should consider.

“Be careful if you purchase lottery tickets as part of a group,” Thomas said. “It’s considered a joint venture and everyone shares the winnings equally. If before the drawing, you make other arrangements about how the money will be split, you have to put that in writing. Lottery winners also have to consider tax planning. Do you want to take your winnings in one lump sum or receive the jackpot over time?”

To reach Nelan or Thomas, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, at 203-206-4449.


Categories: College of Arts and Sciences, Hot Topics, School of Law

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