May the (lottery) odds be ever in your favor


M. Faroqui, left, who sold the Powerball winning ticket at a 7-11 in Chino Hills, Calif., reacts with the crowd in the store on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.

Mitch Felan

Odds are last week’s record-breaking $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot is still on the minds of many jealous college students looking to pay off their student debt.

While the odds were against most players, at one-in-292.2 million for Wednesday’s jackpot, the lottery game has made its fortune on the possibility of being the big winner, not the likelihood.

“I will still keep playing once in a while for the same reason why I think everyone does. They believe in hope,” said Joe Wislocki, sophomore geology major. “I hope that one day they could win against all odds and get the crazy life they have dreamed of.”

“I feel it’s good to take a chance sometimes,” said Nick Powell, a junior digital sciences major.

It seems that hope and chance are keeping Powerball in business, as the Multi-State Lottery Association estimated the recent jackpot sold over 635 million tickets, with 26 million winners of major and minor prizes.

This means approximately 24 percent of players received some award from the game, whether it was $5 or $500.

The stakes were even higher for Powerball’s most recent drawing, as Wednesday’s jackpot was the largest lottery jackpot in history.

While there are many arguments for what an individual should do with $1.4 billion, whether to invest or spend it, there is no denying the sum is very large.

With that money you could buy more than 215 million chicken burritos at Chipotle, more than 529 million gallons of gas at the 2015 average of 2.642 a gallon (data taken from, 24 out of 30 NBA teams and over 41 thousand semesters of out-of-state tuition at Kent State.

Kent State students had slightly different ideas for spending $1.4 billion.

“What I would do with the money is pay off my student loans, invest in gold, Legos, Apple and Microsoft, and live out the rest of my life in peace,” Wislocki said.

“I’d say…tuition, paying off my family’s bills, buying more video games and starting an e-sports (electronic sports) organization,” Powell said

While the main theme of student response to the jackpot amount was to pay off student debt, some students laid out their plans according to investment as opposed to spending.

“Honestly, I would drop $10 million in government bonds, give away the rest and live on the interest,” said Travis Hargett, a junior computer information systems major.

Hargett said he would also pay for his student debt this way, as he believes enough interest would accrue by the time he graduates.

Investment of money is also what several experts suggest, as the large amount of money in lottery winnings would just grow with time and become even larger.

Experts from Forbes suggest that all investments, donations and spending from lottery winnings should be analyzed and supervised by a team of “financial advisers.”

These advisers could include family lawyers, hired professionals or trusted family members.

Forbes also reminds all winners that investments are never definite and can always backfire with changes in lifestyle, especially for stock market or bond investments.

However, depending on who you ask, the lottery may not be the best way to make sound investments.

When asked about investment opportunities for big lottery winnings, David Dumpe, an associate professor of finance, said the lottery is less than ideal for financial futures.

“Gambling is not something that I normally discuss in the context of sound financial planning,” Dumpe said.

However, players will have to wait before they worry about potential winnings, as Wednesday’s jackpot drawing was evenly split between three winning tickets.

As of writing, the current estimated jackpot is $50 million and only time will tell when or if players will see a jackpot as big as Wednesday’s ever again.

Mitch Felan is a politics correspondent for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].