MONEY Lottery

Bartender Who Found $20 Bill Used It to Win $1 Million Lottery

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Ken Reid—Getty Images

Hubert Tang found a $20 bill outside the San Francisco airport and used it to purchase a winning ticket.

A Bay Area man who found a $20 bill on a street outside San Francisco International Airport used it to play the California lottery and won $1 million, a lottery spokesman said on Monday.

Hubert Tang used the lucky bill to buy two scratcher tickets at a store near the airport on Wednesday and won the top prize with one of them, lottery spokesman Greg Parashak said.

“I scratched the ticket outside of the store. I told my friend who I was with that I didn’t know if it was real but, ‘I think I just won a million dollars,'” Tang said, according to Parashak.

Tang, a bartender at the airport, had not played the lottery in about a decade before using the found money to buy two tickets, Parashak said.

Tang said he did not yet have plans for the money, but joked that he might use it to place $20 bills in random places for other lucky players to find, according to the lottery.

TIME Illinois

Illinois Says It Can’t Pay Big Lottery Winners

Michael Jones
M. Spencer Green—AP Illinois Lottery Mega Millions lottery ticket.

Why you need to win small in the Prairie State

(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — Big-time Illinois Lottery winners aren’t getting the largesse. They’re getting left out.

Without a state budget agreement two months into the new fiscal year, there’s no authority for the state comptroller to cut checks over $25,000. That means smaller winnings can be paid out, but not the larger lottery wins.

Susan Rick, who lives in Oglesby, Illinois, planned home fix-ups and a visit to her daughter after her boyfriend won $250,000 last month. But they were told to wait.

Rick tells the Chicago Tribune that if the situation were reversed, the state would “come take it, and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head.”

Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi says state lottery, like every other state agency, is “affected by the budget situation.”

TIME Powerball

Why a Billion-dollar Lottery Could Soon Become More Common

A man purchases New York State Lottery tickets for the $400 million Powerball lottery in New York's financial district
© Brendan McDermid / Reuters—REUTERS A man purchases New York State Lottery tickets.

The odds will be in your favor.

The New York State lottery commissioners have agreed to a change that would alter the odds of winning the Powerball lottery, FiveThirtyEight reported Wednesday.

As the article notes: “If those changes go through, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot will go from about a 1 in 175 million chance to 1 in 292 million. Not great, right? Yes, but the chances of a Powerball win making some future player a billionaire are radically higher. Like, 7.5 times as high.”

The article goes on to say that the current odds of a jackpot getting to $1 billion are about 8.5% in a simulated five-year period. With the new, more difficult odds, there’s a 63.4% chance in that five-year period.

In other lottery news, New Jersey lawmakers have proposed legislation for a system in which those with student loan debt can enter a lottery system to have their loans forgiven — for a price.

MONEY gambling

$1 Billion Powerball Jackpot Is Coming

person grabbing powerball ticket
Scott Olson—Getty Images

At same time, the odds of winning are worse than ever.

Earlier this week, the New York Gaming Commission, which is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association, announced it was tweaking the odds of winning the lottery to raise more revenues. But don’t get excited: Your chances of winning aren’t getting better.

Precisely, the odds of winning Powerball, which are now 1 in 175,223,510, are shooting up to 1 in 292,201,338. So your chances of hitting it big in the lottery, which are already far less likely than getting killed by a shark or struck by lightning, are about to get much worse.

While there is arguably nothing positive about the lottery before or after the changes are instituted, the big brains at FiveThirtyEight point out that there is somewhat of a silver lining to the news that the odds of winning are getting worse.

Assuming that all of the states that participate in Powerball get on board with the changes, sooner or later some luckier-than-ever winner stands to win an epically huge chunk of cash. “The chances of a Powerball win making some future player a billionaire are radically higher. Like, 7.5 times as high,” FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey explains.

Basically, a $1 billion jackpot is likely to happen in part because the likelihood of anyone winning an individual Powerball is decreasing. The longer that no one wins, the bigger the pot gets. What’s more, as the pot grows, the number of tickets sold grows as well, which in turn increases the pace of the pot’s rise.

Hickey ran simulations of five years of play comparing the old and new odds. With the old odds, only 8.5% of the five-year simulations wound up with a $1 billion Powerball jackpot. However, under the new scenario, in which the odds of anyone winning are worse and the pot will therefore rise and rise, a $1 billion jackpot appeared in nearly two-thirds (63.4%) of the simulated five-year periods.

MONEY Student Loans

Win the Lottery, Get Your Student Loan Paid Off

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Oliver Cleve—Getty Images

New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli has proposed a new kind of lottery in which the winners would get their student loan debt erased.

Student loan debt has been one of the hotter political topics of the past few years, generating a collection of proposed solutions like free community college, a student borrower’s bill of rights and changes to the bankruptcy law, to name a few. A state lawmaker in New Jersey just tossed out another idea: a debt-payoff lottery.

Of course, anyone with student loan debt could enter their state’s lottery (though not all states have them) for the chance to win and pay off their loans that way, but Assemblyman John Burzichelli proposed a smaller, targeted lottery for people with education debt, reports NJ.com.

His bill describes a lottery in which borrowers can register information about their debt to play, and they can buy tickets online, according to the news report. Someone else can also buy a lottery ticket (no more than $3) to benefit a borrower. Borrowers could not spend more than 15% of their loan balances on the lottery tickets — the typical borrower who graduated from a New Jersey school in 2014 had $28,109 in loans, according to the Project on Student Debt, and 15% of that is $4,216. Like any other lottery winners, borrowers would be subject to taxes on their prize. If a borrower wins a pot that exceeds his or her debt, the remaining prize money would go to other borrowers.

While the number of people who could enter a student-loan-payoff lottery is smaller than the potential number of ticket holders in a general lottery, the odds of winning likely wouldn’t be great. Imagine getting to the point where you’ve maxed out your allotment of ticket purchases and realizing you spent thousands of dollars for a chance at paying off your debt, when you could have just paid off thousands of dollars in debt. That would be depressing. Then again, that’s how these things work. With every purchase, there’s always the argument that the money could have been better spent.

Meanwhile, as this bill lingers in the New Jersey Legislature, millions of borrowers across the nation have student loans to pay. Maybe a few of them will win lottery jackpots and use them to pay off their debts, but most people need to figure out a way to afford these things with the financial resources they’ve got. Failing to pay your student loan bills will certainly destroy your credit, and you may have your wages garnished or tax refunds seized, if you default on federal loans. If you’re concerned about your ability to repay your student loans, talk to your servicer (the company that handles your loan payments) and look into any student loan repayment options that could make your debt manageable.

More From Credit.com:

TIME Lottery

Why Winning the Powerball Jackpot Just Got a Little Harder

The catch? Jackpots as low as $4

Your dreams of hitting it big on the lottery just got worse: from 1 in 175,223,510 to 1 in 292,201,338, to be precise. What’s worse for lottery aficionados? Jackpots will pay out far smaller sums than the record $590.5 million in 2013.

In fact, it’s more likely—a 1 in 92 chance—that you’ll win just $4.

The New York State Gaming Commission, which oversees the Multi-State Lottery Association, decided Monday to change rules to make the lottery more self-supporting. The portion of money being allocated to jackpots will go form 68% of the Gaming Commission’s total budget to 64%.

The Gaming Commission plans on setting these new odds by increasing the numbers to choose from in the first set from 59 to 69 and decreasing the numbers to choose from in the second set from 35 to 26. (Playing the Powerball requires a person to choose five numbers from the first set and one number from the second set.)

Part of the reason for the change is the fact that more than 36 states participate in the lottery, creating a huge jackpot that was making it unsustainable for the Gaming Commission to continue as is. Additionally, the Powerball itself is on the decline: Lottery ticket sales dipped 19% in 2014, a year which also didn’t see a huge jackpot.

The new odds will begin on Oct. 4 in time for the Oct. 7 drawing.

TIME Appreciation

Man Bought $30K Lottery Ticket by Accident

CT Lottery Bob Sabo becomes a “30X Cash 2nd Edition” instant game top prize winner.

He meant to buy a different ticket but didn't have his glasses on

A Connecticut man won $30,000 last week when he accidentally bought the wrong lottery ticket.

Bob Sabo didn’t want to wait in line at the Super Stop & Shop in Fairfield, Conn. to buy his lottery ticket, so he decided to purchase one from the lottery vending machine. He intended to buy two $20 tickets, but since he didn’t have his glasses on, he accidentally purchased one $30 ticket.

“When I got home and scratched the 30X ticket, I couldn’t believe it—we won $30,000. Winning the way we did was a very freaky thing!” Sabo told the CT Lottery.

Don’t we all wish we made mistakes like that.

TIME local

This NY Plumber Neglected His $136M Winning Lottery Ticket for Over a Month

He hid the winning ticket behind a pipe in his basement

A plumber in New York cashed in on a $136 million lottery ticket Thursday, taking home a massive cash prize he nearly squandered.

Anthony Perosi, 56, had the winning Powerball ticket in his possession for over a month before he even checked it. A friend told him the winnings had gone to a schoolteacher and he believed her.

“A few days after the drawing, I was talking with a friend of mine, and she told me the winning ticket was purchased at the 7-Eleven on Page Avenue,” Perosi said Thursday, according to WABC New York. “I said that’s where I bought my ticket, and she told me she heard that a school teacher won it.”

That was in March.

One fateful day in April, though, after having some trouble with his truck Perosi went down to his basement where he’d kept his ticket pinned in a “lucky” spot behind a pipe. And lucky it was.

The Staten Island native said he thought he was having a heart attack when he saw the winning numbers. He called his 27-year-old son over to confirm. The two said Thursday it’s been surreal ever since.

The elder Perosi doesn’t plan on letting his new-found wealth change him, though. “I want to continue to work, but will be able to relax a little more and not have any worries financially,” he said.

[WABC New York]

TIME Australia

Former Co-Workers Sue Australian Man Over a $12.5 Million Powerball Prize

He says he won the prize with a ticket he bought for himself, not for them

A man from the state of Victoria, Australia, who was part of a 16-person lottery syndicate with his colleagues, has been accused of making off with roughly $12.5 million in lottery winnings.

But Gary Baron, who was entrusted to buy tickets on behalf of the syndicate, says he won the Powerball prize with a ticket that he had bought separately, reports the Age newspaper.

The 49-year-old former courier says he has evidence to substantiate his claim. But 14 members of his former syndicate are taking Supreme Court action against him on Thursday, in which they will say they have a right to an equal share of the prize money.

According to the Age, Baron repeatedly denied winning the money to several colleagues, and reportedly told one former co-worker that he had received a large inheritance.

[The Age]

TIME society

Try to Be Happy For the Couple That Just Won the Lottery for the Second Time

They also once won a Jaguar because...why not?

April Fools’ pranks might be everywhere on the Internet today, but this isn’t one of them.

A U.K. couple won £1 million ($1.22 million USD) from the EuroMillions lottery last week for the second time in as many years. They amazingly beat the 283-billion-to-one odds and made sure to celebrate accordingly.

David and Kathleen Long had been engaged for 12 years before purchasing their first winning ticket in 2013 that bankrolled their “smashing” wedding.

“David was always convinced he’d win big,” Kathleen told the Mirror. “It’s brilliant.”

Long, who also reportedly won a Jaguar because why not, got that feeling again last week. “I just knew it would be my turn again some day,” David Long told The Guardian.

His trick seems easy to replicate: “Just believe that one day you will do it.”

So that’s what you’ve been doing wrong.

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