By Sarah Heaney/Accent editor
David Edwards of Westwood, KY was more likely to drown in his bath tub, be killed by a dog or freeze to death. But instead, he won the second-largest Powerball ever. Edwards was joined by a couple in Maine and a Minnesota medical records clerk in sharing the $295 million jackpot. A winning ticket was sold in Delaware but the person has not come forward.
The actual odds of winning the Powerball jackpot is one in 80,089,128. It was estimated that on Aug. 25 that the percentage of possible number combination played was around 90 percent. On Aug. 22 the Kentucky Lottery’s average sales for the day were over $90 a second.
None of this phased die-hard lottery players. Thousands of new players were lured into buying Powerball tickets for the first time by one simple sum: $295 million.
(In case you were wondering, Uncle Sam gets a 27.5 percent share of the jackpot and Kentucky applies a four-percent tax.)
The frenzy over big jackpots has been going on for centuries. According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, there are even references to a type of lottery in the Bible. Moses used a lottery to award land west of the Jordan River.
During the Hun Dynasty in China, lotteries were used to raise money to finance the construction of the Great Wall of China.
New Hampshire started the first state lottery in 1964. It was also the first legal lottery of the last century.
The word “lottery” is believed to come from the Italian word “loto,” meaning destiny or fate.
The Kentucky lottery has received much criticism since its inception in 1989. The same criticism has been heard in almost all the other 37 states that operate a lottery. The main claim is that lotteries target the poor, especially with specific advertising campaigns.
To refute that claim, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation’s Web Site (www.kylottery.com) said research indicates the average Kentucky lottery player is between 30 and 55 years old, is at least a high school graduate, and has an income of $25-35,000 a year.
The only way David Edwards fits in that statistic is with his age, which is 46. He is a laid-off ex-convict who was on the verge of running out of unemployment. He lucked out after only purchasing $8 worth of chances.
Looking at Edwards’ smiling face on TV this past week, you can tell he didn’t mind at all using what was probably the last eight bucks in his pocket on the lottery. That’s why you, me and almost everyone else will continue to buy lottery tickets with whatever change we have in our pockets, and justify it by one simple thought: Someone’s gonna win, why can’t it be me?