Effective January 15, tickets to play the lottery game Powerball will double in price from $1 to $2. The Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the game, is betting consumers will be willing to pay more in exchange for bigger jackpots and (in the case of some games) better odds.
Those odds of hitting the top prize are currently 1 in 175.2 million.
While players stand little chance of winning jackpots, and while the Association's assets are in decline ($736 million last year, down from $1.4 billion in 2003), running the gambling empire pays off nicely for executive director Charles Strutt, who gets $257,306 in reportable compensation plus $43,401 in other compensation, according to public filings.
Strutt's sense of humor (he formerly wrote a humor column that ran in Iowa newspapers) seems evident in the FAQ section of the Association's website, where the question "Is there a secret to improve your chance of winning Powerball" is first answered in the negative: You cannot improve your odds, it says, by "swinging a dead chicken" over your head.
You can, however, improve your odds, the answer continues seriously, by buying 39 tickets, each with a unique red Poerball number. "Then you are guaranteed to win the $3 prize, at least."
Let's see….39 tickets…at $2 each…for a guaranteed $3. All you need is $78 and a dream.