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    Big Bucks, Small Chances: $1 Billion Up for Grabs as Lotto Mania Sweeps US

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    Two of the biggest lottery games in the US, Mega Millions and Powerball, have accumulated huge prizes, together totaling more than $1 billion. People across the US who are hungry for a chance at the jackpots are buying tickets despite the “cartoonish” odds of winning.

    The Mega Millions jackpot carries a prize of $667 million, the largest in the game's history, and Powerball one of $345 million. They've gotten so big because nobody's won in a long time: the last Mega Millions jackpot was won on July 24 and the last Powerball on August 11. CNBC reported that those massive numbers, though, are the annuity options, paid out over 29 years. Most winners choose the immediate cash prize, which is $380 million for the Mega Millions, the next drawing of which is Tuesday, and $199 million for Powerball, which will next be drawn on Wednesday.

    If nobody wins, the prize goes still higher. Each game has a ways to go until it becomes the biggest-ever, though, which was a $1.586 billion Powerball prize back in January 2016.

    The odds of winning are already comically small: USA Today reports the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 302,575,350 to 1, and the Powerball odds are only slightly better at 292,201,388 to 1. The odds of winning both? One in 88 quadrillion (that's 15 zeros).

    The publication notes you're 258 times more likely to be struck by lightning this year than to win and 80 times more likely to be killed by a shark this year.

    ​With such big jackpots, lots of people are going out and buying tickets despite the low chances of winning. And as usual, they're marinating on just what they would spend the jackpot on if they won.

    Some people took the political route, offering to help plug holes in the US' budget due to the shifting concerns of the Trump administration or to fund opposition political groups.

    ​Others pointed to the ease with which high profile problems like the lead-contaminated water supply in Flint, Michigan, could be fixed with access to a lottery windfall. One Twitterer noted Flint's water problems would only take $55 million to overhaul.

    ​Other people are just excited to be a part of the action!

    ​A common practice when the jackpot gets this big is pot entries, where a bunch of people pool their tickets to give all of them a combined higher chance of getting the six necessary numbers to win, pledging to split the prize money evenly.

    ​However, some are just out for themselves:

    ​And then there are people who are out to expand their social capital by splitting up some of the monetary capital at stake:

    ​Competing for a huge cash prize might reek of Mammon-worship, and some were worried about the fates of their eternal souls if they participated. Or perhaps they can prove that wealth doesn't corrupt after all?

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    Lottery, tweets, record high, prize, cash, jackpot, Powerball
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