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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

September 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Why Washingtonians don’t win Powerball

powerballBought a Powerball ticket yet?

With the jackpot now up to a staggering $400 million, folks around the nation are lining up at convenience stores for their chance to guess the winning numbers.

But maybe you’re less excited about it. The odds of winning are astronomically low. And come to think of it, doesn’t it seem like we never have any Powerball jackpot winners from around here?

It seems that way for a reason: It’s true.

Since Washington began participating in the Powerball lottery in January 2010, there have been 57 jackpot winners in 26 states. Florida alone has had six winners. Iowa, half the population of Washington, has had three. And even little Rhode Island can boast of two jackpot winners.

As for Washington — not one winner so far.

fyiguy-powerball

Click to enlarge

Do we just have really bad luck?

Luck plays a part, of course, but so does participation — you gotta be in it to win it. And Washingtonians have somehow remained relatively immune to Powerball fever.

In last Saturday’s drawing, for example, we spent a meager 17 cents per capita on Powerball tickets. That was the lowest spending of any of the 45 jurisdictions where Powerball is offered for sale, according to Stephen Wade, research and development manager at Washington’s Lottery.

In contrast, New Jersey residents shelled out 70 cents per capita for Saturday’s drawing, putting them at the top.

And that 17 cents we spent last Saturday may have been a Powerball low, but for us it was practically a splurge.

In the 378 Powerball drawings in which Washington has participated, on average we spend about 7 cents per person. On several occasions, it’s dropped as low as 3 cents.

So how about you? Are you a typical, Powerball-averse Washingtonian? Or do you have your tickets in hand, waiting anxiously for Wednesday night’s drawing?

Take our poll, and feel free to sound off in the comments.

0 Comments | More in Government Data | Topics: gambling, lottery

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