You’re probably sad you didn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot of $425 million last night. Good news, though. No one matched all six numbers to win the jackpot. That means that the current estimate for Tuesday’s drawing is $550 million. (UPDATE: The jackpot is now $586 million) That number will likely go higher with increased ticket sales. There’s an outside chance that Tuesday’s jackpot will the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, higher than the $656 million prize in March of 2012.
Friday’s drawing marked 21 straight times that no one has matched all of the numbers. Paula Otto is the executive director of the Virginia Lottery and is the lead director of the multi-state Mega Millions. She told the Associated Press that sales leading up to Friday’s drawing were 40% ahead of estimates and thus pushed the jackpot from $400 million to $425 million. $167 million was spent on tickets between the Tuesday drawing and the Friday drawing. Otto threw an even larger estimate out in talking with the AP:
“We’ve never had a jackpot at this level in December leading into the holidays,” Otto said. “If we keep rolling, we could well be at a billion dollars going into Christmas.”
Not everyone completely lost out on Friday, however. Nine people matched the first five numbers but failed to match the Mega Ball. Those tickets were sold in Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan and New York. The odds of winning that $1 million prize are about 1 in 18,492,204 according to the Mega Millions website. The odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 258,890,850. There’s a good reason that the Mega Millions jackpot has climbed this high. Back in October, the lottery made some pretty significant changes. Since those chances, no one has bought a jackpot-winning ticket. Previously buyers picked five numbers from 1-56 and then a Mega Ball from 1-46. Now the options are five numbers from 1-75 and a Mega Ball from 1-15. These changes were made to increase jackpots quicker, which they have obviously done. The odds of winning the jackpot also jumped from 1 in 175,711,536 to a little under 259 million.
Is It Dumb To Play?
There are plenty of lists out there like this one, that list lots of things that are more likely to happen than winning the jackpot. There are also plenty of people that say you’re a idiot if you play the lottery. If feel that you’re an idiot if you spend a ton of money you don’t have playing the lottery. You are also an idiot if you don’t plunk down $1 for chance at winning the jackpot. $550 million is a whole heck of a lot of money. You could do a lot of good with that money. You could do a lot of bad things with that money or of course you could do a lot of really awesome stupid things with that money.
Options If You Win the Current Jackpot
—You could take it in 30 annual installments: You get the initial payment and the 29 payments annually after that. Each payment is 5% bigger than the last. The average payment would be $18.333 million. The federal government has to get its 25% share from each payment, an average payment to Uncle Sam of $4.58 million. That leaves you with an annual check of $13,75 million before state taxes. Missouri residents will pay 4%, or $733,333 to Jefferson City. Illinois residents will pay 5% ($916,667) to some fund for corruption or something. In Missouri, you’ll be left with just over $13 million each year. After 30 years, you will have received $390.5 million from that jackpot.
—You could take the lump sum up front: This is what I would suggest doing. I would assume most financial people would suggest the same, since they would hope to then manage all that money you got up front. Also, who knows what will happen in 30 years? You get one check with a whole lot of good-looking numbers to the left of the decimal point. It comes out to $295,300,000. Uncle Sam’s cut comes to $73.8 million. Missouri would get $11.8 million or Illinois would get $14.8 million of your money. You are left with $209.66 million as a Missouri resident. It would seem like a bad move to stiff yourself on almost $181 million. I’m not good with numbers that big, but this calculator tells me that if you put that upfront money in the bank and got a 4% yield compounded monthly, you would have about $695 million in the bank 30 years from now. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather take the chance at this than pray that a quasi-governmental body is still mailing me checks 30 years from now.
Things To Do With Your Bounty
If I was the last person on earth, you should still ask someone or something else what to do with your money if you win. But if you really want to know what I would say here’s what I would suggest you invest your money in.
A Gold Lamborghini: $7.5 Million
Lamborghini recently announced that they will be building a gold edition. We aren’t talking plated in gold, but gather actually carved from a block of gold. I would take my purchase to all of the community car wash fundraisers I could and tell the kiddos to “use the good soap”.
Sure, you would lose your under-bed storage, but with your new-found wealth you can afford to put in a new closet somewhere.
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport ($3 million) and a Venom GT ($2 million)
It’s pretty much a toss-up on which of these cars is the fastest production car in the world. With your lottery winnings, you might as well buy one of each and then pay another million or so to hire drivers and get track time and stuff. After you had your fun racing the two, you could then pit them against each other in the second most epic game of “Chicken” ever.
Apparently you can get a pretty decent home setup for $6 million.
You can then pay Prima Cinema $500 to watch a movie at home that’s currently in theaters. That is after you pay them $35,000 upfront for the equipment.
Teach St. Louis students how to code. ($70,000)
Leo Grand recently launched his mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Leo Grand is homeless. He was offered the choice between $100 or free computer coding lessons and chose the latter. Most everyone will tell you that computer coding is an extremely valuable skill to learn and it’s best to teach children that as early as possible. Code Red Education is a St. Louis-based company that wants to teach kids to code during the school day. They estimate that for $70,000 they can educate 25,000 kids in the 71 St. Louis public schools.
Clearly I would be one of the best lottery winners ever and the world would be a better place if I was the sole winner of the jackpot. Get out there and buy your ticket.
Brought to you by Mills Properties.