Australians are flocking to newsagencies everywhere this afternoon to purchase a slip of paper that could make one of them a millionaire, one hundred times over.
Tonight’s $100 million Powerball jackpot will be drawn about 8.30pm AEST, boasting the highest cash prize in the game’s 23-year history.
To put this into perspective, if you mange to guess the right combination of numbers to secure the entire jackpot, you’ll be taking home the largest amount of money ever awarded in a lottery in Australian history.
While you may be tempted to fork out for a ticket this afternoon, odds are the only thing you’ll be buying is a scrap of paper to scrawl your next shopping list on.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, I really do, but there is no logical way you’re going to win tonight’s Powerball jackpot.
THE ODDS ARE AGAINST US
Powerball is the biggest lottery — or as I call it, the biggest practical joke — in our great nation.
For two minutes each week, cash-strapped Aussies can imagine a world where their financial troubles disintegrate before them as a fat cheque lands in their laps.
Farmers, solicitors, factory workers, even mathematicians (you guys should really know better) clutch their lotto tickets and hope that this will be the day they strike gold.
Then, each week when those two minutes are up, the same Aussies, now $50 out of pocket, will drag themselves to bed, still broke and even more disappointed than before.
Sound depressing? Yeah, it is.
Tonight, a lovely looking attendant will grin as they read out the numbers from seven ping pong balls, drawn from inside an even bigger ping pong ball.
Finally, a single Powerball will be selected from the fancy Powerball Barrell.
If, by some miracle, you are the one person in the entire country fortuitous enough to guess all seven numbers, as well as the Powerball number, in a single game, you will be rewarded with $100 million.
Piece of cake, right?
WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES?
Aussie betting company Lottoland claims the odds of you taking out tonight’s major prize is 1 in 76.6 million.
That’s about 0.000000001 per cent of a chance.
You have a better chance of finding a unicorn named Twinky and riding him to Neverland than you do of winning this thing.
Statistically, there’s a higher chance of you being murdered (one in 18,000), or watching your body disintegrate before you, at the hands of a flesh-eating parasite (one in 1 million), than there is of winning the Powerball lottery tonight.
If you’re left handed, there’s more of a chance that you’ll die from using a right-handed piece of equipment incorrectly (one in 4.4 million) than there is of winning this cash.
But look, I’m not here to ruin your mood.
LOTTO WINNERS HAVE RUBBISH LIVES
So if this is all getting you down a bit, don’t worry, I have just the thing to cheer you up.
Most lottery winners are extremely miserable and go broke within the first few years.
A study by the US National Endowment for Financial Education found about 70 per cent of people who win the lottery burn through their entire prize money within five years.
Many lottery winners aren’t financially literate, so their winnings often remain unsecured, uninvested and vulnerable to scams and scabby friends.
US man Jack Whittaker won a staggering $444 million in the US Powerball jackpot draw in 2002.
He was on top of the world, but a few years later, Jack was completely broke, his wife left him, and his granddaughter died from a drug overdose.
He’s now 72 years old and has no more money.
According to financial advice firm Maslow Wealth, if you aren’t great at saving cash, you’re bound to make some bad decisions with your lotto winnings.
“Many winners, who aren’t used to managing a large sum of money, mismanage the funds and wreck their lives in the process,” the firm claims.
“The vast majority of people blow through a financial windfall quickly. Whether large or small, it can seem like ‘play money’, and that is where the danger may lurk.”
Most financial advisers recommend winners resist the temptation to buy a Ferrari or private jet and invest in someone who knows what they’re doing to invest their new found wealth.
If you do win the lottery tonight, you should apologise to your neighbours in advance, because the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that those who live next door to lottery winners run an increased risk of going bankrupt.
Why? Well, all that wealth that winners tend to splash around reportedly rubs off on those close to them.
The study found that neighbours are often forced into dubious spending habits to keep up with the winner’s lavish lifestyle.
You’re also more likely to be robbed if you win the lottery because of all the attention you’ll attract.
Reporters will kick down your door for the chance of a photo and your life will be shared with the whole country.
Suddenly, you’re a prime target for burglary, so spend those winnings on a decent alarm system.
Also, you should probably apologies to your neighbours again for boosting the crime rate in your street.
Watch the Powerball draw tonight at 8.30pm AEST on 7TWO.