Transcript for Powerball Madness: More Than $600M Up for Grabs
Well lottery billboards hanging over our rush hour traffic jams. Has taunting reminders of what could be their big bold announcements of tens sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. Just there for the taking. And tonight countless Americans across the land are filing in the gas stations Delhi's. -- -- their wallets clean for a chance at the largest powerball jackpot in history and enough money. -- never be stuck in traffic ever again. Here's ABC's David -- Bluebird liquors and Hawthorne California home at the Beach Boys claims to be the lucky is lottery store in the Golden State. We've -- about two 24 yes sir. Commenting like six million that is separating from the -- only from the start. So today the line of superstitious customers hoping for good vibrations. Stretched out the door tomorrow it'll be the longer. Powerball is only been in California a month and that's one big reason the jackpot has jumped so high all these new customers here in the Golden State. This has been phenomenal for the state of California as well as the California lottery. We're selling millions and millions of dollars worth of tickets every day Californians are in a frenzies. Everyone knows what they do with the money I would travel the world. And is that all the places. You know from the -- and two and -- to prevent it. But turning dreams into diamonds all depends on picking the right numbers is there anything you can do to. Your -- productivity. Yeah. Its -- Thursday it. But at southern Methodist university in Dallas they've actually done the math professor Scott Laurie has done them -- act. His formula is -- fully complicated. There are fifty. The united possible balls and five are drawn in the number of combinations is given by his formula the solution isn't any simpler set to get the total probability we simply multiply these two numbers together and get a total vulnerability about a hundred -- economy. The odds don't change no matter how many tickets are so the -- -- the same no matter how many people play you just have a higher chance of having to split the jackpot. And all that talk of lucky numbers every number has exactly the same likelihood of winning so it doesn't matter how you pick numbers. One in one -- 175. Million long odds indeed. Statistician concluded you're more likely to be possessed by the doubled to win the -- In fact the odds are better you'll be hit by an asteroid. We're devoured flesh eating bacteria than -- or. Not the jets' ring two bucks a ticket for either of those things. The lottery is the collective fantasy literally. A ticket bringing. The dream gets bigger as more people buy -- but your chances don't improve all that much even if you buy more than one ticket here. -- increase exactly proportional to how many tickets to -- If you buy a hundred tickets here odds increase to approximately one and one point seven million however that is still exceedingly unlikely to win. Yeah some states seem to be luckier than others the -- the biggest jackpot 300 million clubs. Illinois and New Jersey have been lucky -- both states have sold three winning lottery tickets worth that much. Michigan is home to one of the largest single cash payout. Donald Lawson took home 337. Billion dollars last year Nebraska holds the distinction of selling the single most valuable -- 365. Million back in 2006. But it was split. Eight ways by workers in a meatpacking plant what would you do with the money. Well this week ABC news posted that question on FaceBook and the answers. Still pouring in seem to fall into three categories. There at the dreamers the -- Willis says she'd buy all my female friends five pairs of shoes they want but can't afford. Jerry Greider would find me -- young Heidi and live overseas Joseph to -- 175. Million. -- former construction worker unemployed when he bought his Mega Millions ticket. Went on at twenty million dollar spending spree mrs. -- toy. -- -- ATVs cars. -- boat six houses we call that ended a healthy east -- And for his wife Megan -- -- diamond his biggest purchase I would say the -- NASCAR team. He spent one point five million on a NASCAR racing team he spent almost half his winnings and we don't have to worry about money. But he's doing better than most lottery winners 44%. Have spent all the money in five years or less -- still has twenty or thirty million left. It's nice to be able to get up and Morrison I don't have to go to work there also the do gooders folks like Jennifer Wofford who says I would give. Give and give. Connie little says she'd feed the homeless from state to state million Nelson cast John which start a nonprofit charity to help those not even looking for help needy hardworking folks. It has happened pastor Ron York is owned a million dollar ticket he and his wife gave the money away. -- our dream list of charities we are planning to donate to. And an elderly couple from Nova Scotia Canada Allen in Victoria large gave away their eleven million dollar check. They didn't want the headache of sudden -- Alexandra -- kept her job as a waitress after winning a million she remembers the fun and telling her boyfriend. I went inside and I. Asked them. If he hadn't I think. And he said I'm gonna marry you and everything's going to be okay and I think you -- -- eleven million dollars. Alexander believes if you think money -- find happiness. I have a hard time finding I asked myself why is it -- that one -- -- I believe those given to me because someone did something great with it the fact -- Lottery winners say they're happier after winning. -- -- -- Generally it's nice car. Right which leads us to the third big category -- people who were tired of being broke. Amanda Letterman says she'd buy a house pay off bills and chill every rainy pay off my student loans that's all I'd want. A lot of what we're gonna develop product. Goes over too much money to think about it -- -- -- -- -- I'll Kim Kim went if you don't play in. True but your chances of winning are only slightly better if you buy a ticket -- -- you don't that's why in Dallas that math -- professor. Has never played a -- -- I'm David Wright for Nightline in Los Angeles.
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