One in 175 million. Those are admittedly pretty long odds. Newt Gingrich has a better chance of going to the moon than lottery players have of winning this week's record-breaking, $640 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Still, millions of people are apparently undeterred and are snatching up $1 tickets at a record pace. I get it. Who wouldn't want to win a prize like that? One dollar seems a small price to pay for such a potentially huge payout even if we all know, deep down, that we have about as much chance as a kerosene cat in hell with gasoline drawers on.
I doubt very many people buy a lottery ticket thinking they are really going to win. I think the attraction in buying a ticket is the chance to dream a little. From the time you buy the ticket until the time the numbers are drawn, you know that you are as likely as any other ticket holder to win big. While that may still be very unlikely (remember no one has won the jackpot since January), having a ticket lets your mind wander through a realm where the realities of your personal finances do not apply. No budgets, no limited paychecks, no bills to pay -- just complete and total freedom to buy whatever you want, whenever you want.
A recent Bloomberg report stated Georgians are the biggest suckers when it comes to the lottery. I prefer to look at it another way. Perhaps Georgians are simply the biggest optimists. After all, we live in a beautiful state in the most beautiful part of the country. We've just enjoyed one of the mildest winters I can ever recall and are into what is shaping up to be an absolutely gorgeous spring. Maybe we are just happier folks and are willing to dream while our counterparts in other parts of the country are mired in doom and gloom and icky snow piles and whatnot.
All I know is that for the next few hours, we all have a chance to dream big. I might be the next multi-millionaire, you might be the next multi-millionaire -- who knows? Until I know for sure that I am not a winner, I am going to let my mind drift in a world where I am obscenely wealthy because tomorrow I am going to be plopped right back down in reality.
If you'd like to dream a little today, pick up a Mega Millions ticket for $1. Tickets will be sold until 10:45 p.m. and the drawing will be held at 11 p.m. The person who matches all six numbers will win a record breaking $640 million jackpot which will be paid out in a lump sum of nearly $462 million or in 26 annual installments of $24.6 million.