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July 29, 2014

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Gambling:

A trip to Primm could leave someone $500 million richer

Nevadans cross state lines for lottery

KSNV coverage of why there is no lottery in Nevada, March 28, 2012.

Half a billion dollars — that’s the largest estimated Mega Millions jackpot ever, and it could be won Friday when the multistate lottery is drawn.

When no tickets matched the six numbers in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions lottery, the estimated jackpot for Friday’s drawing rocketed to a record $500 million, according to the lottery’s website.

“The hype for the jackpot is amazing,” said Alex Traverso, California spokesman for Mega Millions.

Traverso said it’s the largest single jackpot since Mega Millions started in 1996.

Since lottery tickets are not sold in Nevada, among the places to buy them is the Primm Valley Lotto Store on the California-Nevada border.

The location is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, Traverso said. Tickets are being sold for $1.

On Friday and Tuesdays — the days when Mega Millions numbers are pulled — tickets sales will stop around 7:45 p.m.

Las Vegans waited in two-hour-long lines at the Primm location to buy tickets for the Tuesday drawing.

Ticket sales determine the estimated jackpot, which could increase before Friday, Traverso said.

The odds of winning the $500 million jackpot are 1 in 176 million, he said.

On Tuesday, 47 tickets hit five of six numbers but were missing the Mega Ball number, Traverso said. The prize amount for matching the five numbers is $250,000.

Nine of those 47 tickets were purchased in California, Traverso said. Of those, three ticket holders have already claimed their winnings.

If one ticket wins the $500 million jackpot, the ticket holder can choose a cash option of $359.8 million or to the total amount broken down into payments over the course of 26 years, Traverso said.

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  1. Every poker player knows it would be mathematically wrong *not* to risk $1 on a 176,000,000:1 proposition to win $500M. The "pot odds" are nicely favorable for that wager.

  2. I can't tell if @boftx is serious or joking.

    I've asked my pal in Orange County to buy a few tickets for me.

  3. We don't have a Lotto because casinos can't stand for one single dollar to go anywhere but directly to their coffers. I stood in line for 2.5 hours last tuesday and bought tickets for a number of drawings so I wouldn't have to do it each time they had a drawing. I enjoyed the hour drive at 70mph. Did some shopping in the beautiful outlet store mall. I also enjoyed talking to the people standing in line with me. One must dress for the weather and I may bring a folding chair next time too.

  4. I,m serious, Test_Guy.

    Thank about flipping a coin. The true odds are 1:1. If I were to offer you 2:1 odds, menaing you would get $2 on a $1 wager you'd have very good pot odds.

    It's the same thing here. The true odds are 1 in 176,000,000. But the payout is much higher than that. It makes perfect sense to make the $1 wager under these conditions.

    Without regard to pot sharing or taxes, if you were to buy every combination of numbers, 176,000,000 of them, you would more than double your money.

    On the other hand, when the jackpot starts out, you would have to buy 176,000,000 to make sure you hit the right numbers, but you would only get back a couple of million at best. That is a bad bet.

  5. It will take approximately 4 years to make a lottery legal in Nevada because it will require an amendment to the State Constitution to do so.

    There is no reason whatsoever that we should not have it.

    However, if Congress continues to move toward online gaming, specifically allowing states to sell lottery tickets online across state borders, some enterprising lawyer from say the ACLU, might find an argument to have the Nevada restriction struck down as unconstitutional.

  6. Wait until next week if this lottery prize isn't won Friday. The liberal tokens sucking off the system get paid before the next weeks drawing and they'll have their monthly checks where they'll be dying to spend it. You better arrive early, if you donate to their tax system or drive to Baker and buy.

  7. My wife just got to Primm a few minutes ago, she said it looks like more than 5hrs now, a real zoo. She's continuing on to Baker.

  8. TomD1228,

    Look at my discussion of pot odds. Mathematically, it's not worth risking $1 until the return is at least $200M. After that you swing from a negative expectation to a positive one.