Powerball is a multi-state lottery game. Since there are multiple states, the prizes are large. As I write this, the Grand Prize is $203 million. Now I know that the lottery is a tax on people who don’t understand math. (I play by buying one $2 ticket, because I get hours of entertainment out of daydreaming what I would do if I won, and hay, it’s only $2. Cheaper than the movies, or even a book.)
I was looking at the prizes and odds, and noticed something odd: California, even though they are playing the same game, awards different prizes. Check this out:
|Match||win||win in California|
|5 numbers and powerball||$203 million||$203 million|
|5 numbers||$2 million||$212,409|
|4 numbers and powerball||$50,000||$9,062|
|3 numbers and powerball||$100||$197|
|2 numbers and powerball||$7||$8|
|one number and powerball||$4||$5|
As you can see, the prize structure takes money from the larger winners and redistributes them to the smaller winners. Matching 5 numbers without the powerball, or 4 numbers with the powerball in California means that 85% to 95% of your winnings will be confiscated (by the time you pay taxes) and the majority of that money will be given to the “less fortunate” people who matched fewer numbers.
It’s a metaphor for the entire state.