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Good Question: ‘Reply All’: Powerball Edition

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Wednesday’s $500 million Powerball jackpot is all part of the plan.

The lottery doubled the cost of tickets to build bigger jackpots more quickly. More people play when the jackpot is bigger.

And it’s worked. Sales are up 35 percent this year over last.

If someone wins in Minnesota — and takes the cash option — the payout will be $221 million after tax.

And you’ve got Good Questions. The most popular question came from Sara Fleets. Which wins more often: computer pick or player pick?

About 70 percent of winners are computer picks. And about 70 percent of the tickets purchased are computer picks. So, it makes no difference. More quick picks, more quick pick winners.

Jill from Ashby wondered: Why not buy all the combinations and guarantee a win?

To print 175,223,510 tickets it would take 2,028 days (or 5 and-a-half years.)

There are more than 175 million different combinations of numbers, so that would cost you $350 million. In the end, you’d lose about $130 million if you took the cash option.

At any rate, you can squeeze 10 plays on a ticket. You could print one ticket a second, producing 36,000 tickets per hour, 864,000 per day. It would take 202 days to print 175 million tickets, using just one terminal.

Kevin Watterson and Sarah Strong-Belisle asked: What will the winning numbers be?

Obviously, I’m not telling you that. But, the overall odds of winning something are 1 in 32.

You can guarantee a win by spending $70. Just pick by hand every individual Powerball number. You’re guaranteed a match, and that’s $4 for that.

Mike wanted to know: How does selling tickets benefit the stores?

If they sell the big winner, they get a $50,000 bonus. But they also get an 11 cent cut of every $2 ticket. That’s not great, so it’s really to lure people into the stores.

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