What was aptly described in the 1985 hit song “Smuggler’s Blues” by Glenn Fry in regards to smuggling drugs is certainly true of lotteries: “it’s the lure of easy money; it’s got a VERY strong appeal.” The New Jersey Powerball failed to pick a winner upping the prize to a whopping $317 million.
It was only five and a half months ago that the same Powerball lottery reached $338 million and just last month another Powerball lottery topped $448 million. Today’s drawing may leave one person with the envious decision of accepting a lifetime annuity based on the $317 million prize or accept a lump sum distribution in excess of $176 million. Most winners take the lump sum, but given the track record of lottery winners who run into money woes, the annuity is the safest bet for most.
The previous prize amount was $248.3 million this past Wednesday, but no winning ticket and brisk sales have raised the payout nearly 30% higher. There were three lucky winners of the $447 million Powerball last month and they opted to split the lump sum cash value of $258.2 million.
While it may fall on deaf ears, the guaranteed million dollar payout is obtaining a college degree. Over person’s lifetime their earnings are more than $1 million dollars higher than people with a high school diploma, but there’s no fervor generated about hitting the books.