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Powerball lottery madness spreads to big media

PowerballPowerball: Powerball lottery madness spreads to big media

Exclusive Lottery Post Story

Now that the multi-state Powerball jackpot is sitting at its highest level ever, everyone is taking notice, creating a barrage of big-media news stories.

Unfortunately for the public, the big media is making some mistakes.

Although the mistakes at first may seem innocuous, they add up to create player confusion.  When a lottery game's jackpot reaches the upper-limits, people who don't normally buy tickets get interested.  And those are the people who will be most affected by the misinformation, since they tend to know the least about the game.

In an effort to help players looking for correct answers to their questions, Lottery Post has surveyed the field of recent Powerball news reporting, and picked out some stories to correct.

CNN

Because CNN has been around the longest of all the cable news stations, it is often perceived as an authoritative voice in the news industry.  Unfortunately, in the case of Powerball that claim cannot be made.

CNN is currently blaring headlines about the current $340 million Powerball jackpot possibly becoming the largest in history.  Their news story, posted Monday morning, states, "Wednesday's Powerball drawing could produce the largest lottery prize in history, a record jackpot of $340 million. "

Not true.

The largest lottery prize [jackpot] ever awarded was a $363 million jackpot from the former version of Mega Millions, called The Big Game, in May, 2000.  The record jackpot was split between two winning tickets, sold in Michigan and Illinois.

What CNN might be referring to is the record for the largest single prize ever awarded by a lottery, which went to Jack Whittaker on Christmas Day, 2002.  He bought the winning ticket for the $314.9 million Powerball jackpot in West Virginia.

But that drawing was certainly not the largest jackpot.  It was the second-largest (now third-largest) prize in lottery history.

Perhaps some people created a new category of "biggest single prize" because of their disappointment that Powerball did not seize the overall record.  It sounds like a salvo for bragging rights in the rivalry between the two titans of multi-state games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Whatever the reasoning, CNN should be making it clear that the Wednesday Powerball jackpot will not be the largest in history, but indeed will be the second-largest.

Washington Times

This morning, The Washington Times is trumpeting a big story that Powerball has a new jackpot capping system!

The reporter, seemingly sensing an exclusive story, rushed to publish the "big" news story without checking all the details.

After seeing the headline and opening paragraphs, seasoned Powerball players are probably left to wonder if the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) has suddenly changed their rules.  The story could easily cause confusion and unnecessary worry among players.

The fact is that the cap is not new, and has been around since October 6, 2002 -- more than three years now.

Perhaps the reporter is confused that the jackpot cap has never been utilized prior to this drawing, but that certainly does not make it a new rule.

The change was implemented along with a number of other changes three years ago, including an expanded number pool, an increased annuity payment term, changes to Power Play, and changes to the way unclaimed prizes are distributed.

The Washington Times reporter makes readers believe the cap is brand-spanking new, and even surrounds quotes from lottery officials with language about how they are commenting on the "new procedure".

Some get it right

Amid the incorrect reporting, there are other news outlets getting it right.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune put together a comprehensive story correctly outlining the never-before-used jackpot cap, as well as all the details about how it works.

Minnesota Lottery Director Clint Harris summed up the nature of the cap nicely when he said, "It spreads the wealth.  You could have one very big happy winner with the $340 million.  Now you can also have from 10 to 30 second-prize winners who are going to win a bigger share of the money."

The Star Tribune article also correctly mentions that without the cap, the Wednesday jackpot would indeed be the North American lottery record, at an estimated $368.2 million.

Players should exercise caution

The moral of the story is that when jackpot frenzy begins, players should realize that it can also be a frenzy in the newsroom, as reporters who are unaccustomed to the various lottery rules and procedures are suddenly thrust into the role of reporting those rules and procedures.  And sometimes they will get it wrong.

Players should use common sense when buying lottery tickets, and keep from our-spending their budget.  Likewise, when reading "facts" about the lottery reported in mainstream news outlets, players should double-check the facts with traditional lottery news sources.

In-depth Powerball information, including a comparison of cash value and annuity payments -- before and after tax -- can be found at www.usamega.com.  USA Mega is a unique web site that presents information about the United States' two biggest lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Lottery Post Staff

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80 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 6
Avatar
New Mexico
United States
Member #12305
March 10, 2005
2984 Posts
Offline
Posted: October 18, 2005, 8:59 am - IP Logged

Players should exercise caution

The moral of the story is that when jackpot frenzy begins, players should realize that it can also be a frenzy in the newsroom, as reporters who are unaccustomed to the various lottery rules and procedures are suddenly thrust into the role of reporting those rules and procedures.  And sometimes they will get it wrong.

 

It's a bit vague on the matter of what 'caution' players should exercize, other than using good sense about buying tickets.  Other than that the stories, while inaccurate, don't convey any important information anyway.  Yeah, the cap isn't new.  So what?  Maybe it's important to someone to know there's a cap, though I can't imagine how.  But why's it important whether it happened in 2002, or 2005?  Makes no difference at all, seems to me.

Roughly the same is true of a lot of this stuff.  The question of whether it's the largest jackpot is absolutely meaningless in any terms except for gossip.  The guy who wins is gonna behave the same whether it's the largest, or the 3/4 largest.

I'd say it would be a lot more important for players to understand that the enormous check held up by the winner who took a lump sum is phonier than a three-dollar bill.... guy gets to hold up a check that shows him getting twice the money he won, and he grins into the camera and tries to look innocent.

That's inaccuracy for you, deliberate, misrepresenting, and fradulent.

Jack

Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

It's about number behavior.

Egos don't count.

 

Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

 

    Avatar
    Coastal Georgia
    United States
    Member #2653
    October 30, 2003
    1866 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: October 18, 2005, 9:01 am - IP Logged

    Excellent story-- It just shows how the feeding frenzy works when blood is detected in the water !!!

     

    Somebody PLEASE win this tomorrow night !!!!!!!!

     

    DD

     

                                   

                  

     

     

      Avatar
      Coastal Georgia
      United States
      Member #2653
      October 30, 2003
      1866 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: October 18, 2005, 9:03 am - IP Logged

      Players should exercise caution

      The moral of the story is that when jackpot frenzy begins, players should realize that it can also be a frenzy in the newsroom, as reporters who are unaccustomed to the various lottery rules and procedures are suddenly thrust into the role of reporting those rules and procedures.  And sometimes they will get it wrong.

       

      It's a bit vague on the matter of what 'caution' players should exercize, other than using good sense about buying tickets.  Other than that the stories, while inaccurate, don't convey any important information anyway.  Yeah, the cap isn't new.  So what?  Maybe it's important to someone to know there's a cap, though I can't imagine how.  But why's it important whether it happened in 2002, or 2005?  Makes no difference at all, seems to me.

      Roughly the same is true of a lot of this stuff.  The question of whether it's the largest jackpot is absolutely meaningless in any terms except for gossip.  The guy who wins is gonna behave the same whether it's the largest, or the 3/4 largest.

      I'd say it would be a lot more important for players to understand that the enormous check held up by the winner who took a lump sum is phonier than a three-dollar bill.... guy gets to hold up a check that shows him getting twice the money he won, and he grins into the camera and tries to look innocent.

      That's inaccuracy for you, deliberate, misrepresenting, and fradulent.

      Jack

      Good point about that phony check, Jack....

      It never would be the full amount anyway thanks to taxes and annuities...

       

      DD 

       

                                     

                    

       

       

        Avatar
        New Mexico
        United States
        Member #12305
        March 10, 2005
        2984 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: October 18, 2005, 9:06 am - IP Logged

        Shalini's working it in New Delhi.  I'm rooting for him.  There's something particularly satisfying in thinking, if I don't win it myself, that someone in New Delhi will.  The uproar would be worth the price of admission.

        I can imagine the new rules and laws dropping out of the sky like paratroopers to keep it from ever happening again, provided we didn't send our own troops to New Delhi out of reprisal.

        Jack

        Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

        It's about number behavior.

        Egos don't count.

         

        Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

         

          Avatar
          New Mexico
          United States
          Member #12305
          March 10, 2005
          2984 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: October 18, 2005, 9:16 am - IP Logged

          Players should exercise caution

          The moral of the story is that when jackpot frenzy begins, players should realize that it can also be a frenzy in the newsroom, as reporters who are unaccustomed to the various lottery rules and procedures are suddenly thrust into the role of reporting those rules and procedures.  And sometimes they will get it wrong.

           

          It's a bit vague on the matter of what 'caution' players should exercize, other than using good sense about buying tickets.  Other than that the stories, while inaccurate, don't convey any important information anyway.  Yeah, the cap isn't new.  So what?  Maybe it's important to someone to know there's a cap, though I can't imagine how.  But why's it important whether it happened in 2002, or 2005?  Makes no difference at all, seems to me.

          Roughly the same is true of a lot of this stuff.  The question of whether it's the largest jackpot is absolutely meaningless in any terms except for gossip.  The guy who wins is gonna behave the same whether it's the largest, or the 3/4 largest.

          I'd say it would be a lot more important for players to understand that the enormous check held up by the winner who took a lump sum is phonier than a three-dollar bill.... guy gets to hold up a check that shows him getting twice the money he won, and he grins into the camera and tries to look innocent.

          That's inaccuracy for you, deliberate, misrepresenting, and fradulent.

          Jack

          Good point about that phony check, Jack....

          It never would be the full amount anyway thanks to taxes and annuities...

           

          DD 

          True.

          But the check the winner who takes a lump sum holds up bears no relationship at all to the actual pre-tax winning.

          A case can obviously be made for the billboard trumpeting a jackpot twice as large as actually exists.  But no case can be made, once the winner takes the lump, for that giant check he's holding being anything but a deliberate obfiscation and self-serving fraud on the part of the lottery.

          Jack

          Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

          It's about number behavior.

          Egos don't count.

           

          Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

           

            mrmst's avatar - disney14
            Glen Burnie, MD
            United States
            Member #427
            June 27, 2002
            208 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: October 18, 2005, 10:16 am - IP Logged

            I acutally had an argument today with someone who swears this is the biggest lottery jackpot ever, and they know so because they saw it on the news.  My reply was, "Oh, I didn't know that $340 million is bigger than $363 million, must be that new math I heard about".  Anyway, I'm excited about the drawing and dreaming about a big win.  I know the odds are way against me, but hey, dreaming can be fun!

            MrMST

            Good luck and have a Disney Day ºoºHiding Behind Computer

              Avatar
              Sparta, NJ
              United States
              Member #18331
              July 9, 2005
              1977 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: October 18, 2005, 10:40 am - IP Logged

              Shalini's working it in New Delhi.  I'm rooting for him.  There's something particularly satisfying in thinking, if I don't win it myself, that someone in New Delhi will.  The uproar would be worth the price of admission.

              I can imagine the new rules and laws dropping out of the sky like paratroopers to keep it from ever happening again, provided we didn't send our own troops to New Delhi out of reprisal.

              Jack

              Although I selfishly want the money, it would be cool if some one from a "poor country" should hit the "biggest jackpot ever" - then choose annuity. Wouldn't that frost the state that sold the ticket? Having to send money to a foriegn country every year! Hehehehehehe! The news would use up a thousand years of tree bark!

              Cheers

              |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

              I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

                RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                mid-Ohio
                United States
                Member #9
                March 24, 2001
                19825 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:05 am - IP Logged

                I think most journalists consider playing the lotteries is for uneducated people so they don't get interested until the jackpot is big enough to make the news and that's when we uneducated lottery players find out everybody is ignorant about something.  I've read all kinds of misinformation about the PowerBall lottery including that the average jackpot is usually $200M, you would think these reporters would check some lotteries websites before writing a story off the top of their head.  I just hope they check the facts better for the other stories they write.

                 * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                   
                             Evil Looking       

                  Avatar
                  new delhi
                  India
                  Member #22145
                  September 20, 2005
                  174 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:17 am - IP Logged

                  hahaha...if I won what fun...a citizen of one of the poorer countries in the world....by the way I'm a she and not a he!!

                  In my currency it is 50 times the amount...it is very very serious money here....if only I could win...well its getting late here...you all can do the waiting and I shall rise bright and early to see the result.....

                   

                    Avatar
                    new delhi
                    India
                    Member #22145
                    September 20, 2005
                    174 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:21 am - IP Logged

                    Chewie you are quite wicked and Jack I'm a she not a he...not your fault..you would not be able to make that out from my name..

                     

                    Well if someone from this country won ( read me) I don't know about anyone else but I would definitely collapse!!!!

                      Avatar
                      New Mexico
                      United States
                      Member #12305
                      March 10, 2005
                      2984 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:33 am - IP Logged

                      Sorry Shalini:

                      I should have known, most likely.  No male in America would survive childhood with a given name of Shalini, but I thought things might be different there.

                      Jack

                      Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                      It's about number behavior.

                      Egos don't count.

                       

                      Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

                       

                        Avatar
                        Greenwich, CT
                        United States
                        Member #4793
                        May 24, 2004
                        1822 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:39 am - IP Logged

                        If I won, I think I would have to get in my car and drive the Interstates for about 6 hours, screaming, just so no one would hear me around the neighborhood and get suspicious.  And I'd have this wicked smile plastered on my face for about three years.

                          dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

                          United States
                          Member #2338
                          September 17, 2003
                          2063 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: October 18, 2005, 1:40 pm - IP Logged

                          Why would it be surprising if CNN et al get it wrong. Since when do they check facts on something. They are just more interested in the politics of an issue than the facts of an issue.

                            dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

                            United States
                            Member #2338
                            September 17, 2003
                            2063 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: October 18, 2005, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

                            If I won, I think I would have to get in my car and drive the Interstates for about 6 hours, screaming, just so no one would hear me around the neighborhood and get suspicious.  And I'd have this wicked smile plastered on my face for about three years.

                            Just live in a city like I do. One more screaming lunatic wouldn't even get noticed.