Record $2.3 billion lotto jackpot offered in Australia

Ever dreamed about being a billionaire? Well, you have the chance to buy that dream – however fleeting and unrealistic it may be.

The so-called Power Lotto, linked to Powerball in the United States, has jackpotted to an almost unfathomable $2.3 billion ($US1.5 billion) prize pool, and a local company is providing the chance for Aussies to get in on the action. For the many millions who missed out on the recent $160m Powerball jackpot, there is always another chance to keep the dream alive.

The Lottery Office, licensed by the Government of the Northern Territory, allows Australian punters to pay for entries into the world’s largest official lotteries, says CEO Jaclyn Wood.

"When Australians purchase tickets in our lotteries, we purchase a matching ticket in the relevant overseas draw and when our customers win, we pay them the exact amount of the winnings we collect from the overseas lottery ticket," she explained. "Our USA Power Lotto is matched to the US Powerball."

People look at a digital billboard advertising Powerball’s Jackpot of US$1.6 billion ($AUD2.3 billion) dollars.
People look at a digital billboard advertising Powerball’s Jackpot of US$1.6 billion dollars ($AUD2.3 billion) in New York City this week. Source: Reuters

The mammoth draw is set to close this Sunday, November 6, at 12pm AEDT. It is the largest Lotto prize ever offered in Australia.

The US Powerball hit the US$1 billion mark last week, driving a surge of Australian interest, Ms Wood claimed. "The Lottery Office are passionate about enabling Australians to benefit from international lotteries, as these draws are often significantly larger on average than what you will find in a traditional Australian lottery," she said.

Awash with pokies and gambling ads, Australia is known for being a nation of punters. We have the rather unenviable title of being the biggest gamblers – measured by gambling losses per capita – in the world. And by a comfortable margin too. According to data from the Australian Government's Institute of Health a Welfare, about 30 per cent of Aussie adults regularly spend money on lottery tickets. But it's not just Australians who get caught up in the Lotto fever.

According to US historian Jonathan D. Cohen, consumers in the United States share our appetite for infinitesimally small odds.

"Americans spend more on lottery tickets every year than on cigarettes, coffee, or smartphones," he wrote in his recent book For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America. "And they spend more on lottery tickets annually than on video streaming services, concert tickets, books, and movie tickets combined."

As The New Yorker noted last month amid the Powerball frenzy of billion dollar jackpots, the game is so popular that it's both extremely lucrative for the private companies that sell tickets and financially crippling for the most dedicated players who continually buy them.

According to the Washington Post, the odds of claiming the eye-watering jackpot this weekend by guessing the requisite sequence of numbers are about one in 292 million.

If gambling is a problem for you, go to Gambling Help Online or call 1800 858 858.

A person (pictured) receives a lottery ticket for Powerball’s US$1.6 billion dollar (AUD$2.3 billion) jackpot.
A person receives a lottery ticket for Powerball’s $US 1.6 billion dollar ($AUD2.3 billion) jackpot in New York City this week. Source: Reuters

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