The BonusFinder Guide to Lotteries in The U.S.

US Lottery Winners: Should You Take the Lump Sum or the Annuity?

We have all dreamed of winning the lottery. But what if you win tomorrow? Should that happen, you will be offered a choice: a lump-sum payment or a 30-year annuity. In todays article, we will clear up the confusion around these payment options. The odds were impossibly long, but you did it – you won the lottery. But no matter which draw (Powerball, Mega Millions, or your state lottery) you took down, a fateful choice awaits. Do you take the lump sum payment… or the annuity? Most winners don not know what these terms mean, let alone their implications. But by learning about them now, you will make a more informed choice when you win.

What are Lump Sum Payments?

When you opt for a lump sum payment, you get ALL the money upfront. Unsurprisingly, it’s the option that most lottery winners choose, but it has drawbacks.

You get ALL your prize money (after taxes): You get most of your money upfront when you accept a lump sum. By doing this, your cash is sheltered from circumstances outside your control. Also, in the latter stages of life, getting immediate access to funds is preferable, as you cannot enjoy your money when you are dead.

You could earn MORE than your original prize: After receiving your lump sum, you don not have to put it into a checking account. In fact, many financial advisors recommend storing your lottery capital in a fixed-income fund. But if you are bold, you could stick some into growth-oriented investments. Over time, the gains could overcome tax losses and exceed the lifetime payout of a lottery annuity.

The tax hit upfront will be significant: In September 2014, Vinh Nguyen won the Powerball, taking down a jackpot of $228 million. However, Vinh calls California home, a state notorious for its high taxes. His prize would have taken a 41% haircut if he had taken the lump sum, leaving him with just $134 million. Vinh opted for the annuity. Because of that choice, he'll receive the full $228 million over 30 annual payments.

You could spend/lose it all: Some winners lack impulse control. Between unsustainable spending and bad investments, many end up broke within a few short years. Adding more money does not curb spending habits - it makes them worse. So if you have these tendencies, taking an annuity may be the better option.

What is an Annuity?

But what happens if you opt for the annuity? Choose this option, and you’ll get your prize in annual installments. Now, this period varies by lottery, but Powerball and Mega Millions follow the 30-year model: you get your first installment upfront, then once per year for the next 29 years.

You are set for the next 30 years: Imagine getting a job with a multi-million dollar salary. Now, subtract 100% of the work. That is what it is like having an annuity. Sure, it is not as sexy as having nine figures in your bank account, but being constrained by an allowance curbs the worst excesses of new lottery winners. If you have a nasty spending habit but crave security, an annuity may be the best choice.

Leave behind a legacy: But what if you die before collecting your full annuity? Despite what some think, annuities are NOT transferred back to the government upon death. Instead, they become part of your estate. If you want your spouse and kids to be okay after your passing, an annuity can make that happen.

You give up control over your money: Who knows what the future holds? A decade from now, the Feds might raise taxes significantly. Inflation might escalate, eroding the value of your annuity. And what if the government goes bankrupt? If you won a state lottery, they might be tempted to 'suspend' future lottery payments. With an annuity, you are just a helpless bystander. You can't shelter your cash through legal tax avoidance structures, nor can you invest it in inflation hedges. And at any time, a government can turn off your income.

Initial payouts are small: Think that an annuity is divided into 30 equal installments? Think again - in most cases, the payouts start small and increase in size by five percent each year. Lotteries backload their annuities in an attempt to combat inflation, but this measure makes less sense if you're an older adult. In short, inflation protection doesn't matter if you might not be alive to enjoy your money. So if you're 40+, you're probably better off taking the lump sum, investing it in an income fund (or some other stable investment), and living off the interest.

Make the Most of Your Windfall

Many financial advisors recommend taking the lump sum. But it’s not “one-size-fits-all” advice – after all, some people like the security of an annuity payment, nor are they comfortable investing multi-millions. So when you hit the “big one,” we hope this article will make your decision easier.

So You Just Won the Lottery: What Now?

You never think it’ll happen to you – but it happens to people around the world, every single day. What you would do if you won the lottery? In this blog post, we’ll share our most important tips for lottery winners.

It’s a morning like any other. You wake up, take a shower, get dressed, and turn on your coffeemaker. Then, as your dark roast percolates, you bring up the numbers from last night’s lottery draw. But unlike countless times before, the unthinkable happens. After comparing the draw numbers with yours several times, it hits you – they match. A rush of blood flows to your head, and you begin to feel dizzy. You think, ‘What in the world is happening? What do I do now?’

First of all, if you’re standing, sit down. Then breathe – your brain needs oxygen to process what just happened… and, more importantly, what you need to do next.

What to Do After a Big Win

There are several things you should ALWAYS do after a big win. Unfortunately, some winners fail to do them and end up in a sticky situation later.

So what are they? Let’s run through them, step-by-step:

Sign the back of your ticket

Fact: a lottery ticket isn’t legally your property unless you’ve signed it. So if you misplace your ticket and someone else finds it, they could claim YOUR prize – and you would have no legal recourse.

So if you didn’t sign your ticket (and let’s be real, few people do), flip it over and slap your signature on it… RIGHT NOW. Then, to protect yourself from accidental loss, make digital copies of your ticket and store them away from prying eyes.

Remain anonymous

You might think most people would be happy for your good fortune. Wrong – on the surface, they’re all smiles. But underneath, envy may be pushing them to sponge as much wealth off you as possible.

Put your name out there, and people will come to you with every sob story under the sun. Many will be exaggerated – a few will be outright fabrications.
Only a handful of people need to know about your win – your partner, your immediate family, close friends… and that’s it. To everyone else, you should be another random person on the street.

Get an accountant and a lawyer

For years, you managed thousands of dollars. Now, you suddenly have to manage millions. It’s not easy, so don’t try to do it alone.

So start by hiring an accountant with experience managing high net worth accounts. They’ll start by assessing whether you should take the lump sum or go with an annuity. Then, they’ll advise you on taxes, succession planning, and day-to-day financial management.

Also, even if you take our advice in point #2, some people/entities may still try to get their hands on your money. By retaining the services of a lawyer, you’ll gain protection from these vultures.

What to Do After Collecting Your Winnings

But these tips are just the essentials. After posing with your novelty check, partying with family and friends, and taking time off, consider these additional pointers:

Pay off your debt

For years, you struggled. Now you have more money than you know what to do with. So have fun making your debt obligations vanish with a single mouse click. Goodbye, student loan! Goodbye, mortgage!

Set up a passive income system

True financial independence isn’t won by amassing millions of dollars – it’s won by spending less than your passive income streams.

Think about it: many lottery winners go broke in a few years by blowing through their principal. But if you get your accountant to set up an income fund that pays you regularly, AND you build your lifestyle around it, you’ll never worry about money again.

Live your life

You no longer have to work for money – hurray! But, don’t spend all your time on the couch – get out there and explore your passions. Travel. Learn a skill you never had time for before. Find a charity to support.

Your new life starts now – so make it a good one.

Recent Results for Top US Lotteries

The Powerball and Mega Millions offer some of the biggest lottery wins in the US. In this guide, we’ll break down the most recent wins in these draws.

Want to take a shot at multi-millions? US lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions routinely offer eight and even nine-figure prizes. On this page, we’ll share recent results for these draws. Who knows – soon, you might be the newest addition to this list!

Powerball

The Powerball is a multi-state lottery that has crowned new millionaires since 1992. But how does it work? Players pick five numbers from 1 to 69, plus a Powerball number from 1 to 26. To win, you must match all five drawn numbers in sequence, plus the Powerball.

Currently, the Powerball lottery has draws every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:59 pm Eastern Time. Below, we’ve listed the ten most recent wins:

Date Prize Won
August 3, 2022 $207 million
June 29, 2022 $366 million
April 27, 2022 $473 million
February 14, 2022 $185 million
January 5, 2022 $632 million
January 5, 2022 $632 million
October 4, 2021 $495 million
June 5, 2021 $196 million
March 27, 2021 $160 million
January 30, 2021 $24 million
January 23, 2021 $17 million
January 20, 2021 $546 million
September 16, 2020 $75 million
August 12, 2020 $140 million
June 10, 2020 $16 million

Mega Millions

Mega Millions is Powerball’s rival. It started in 1996, offering ticket sales in six states. Today, it operates in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. To play the Mega Millions, you select five numbers from 1 to 70, plus a gold Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. To win, you must match all draw five numbers in sequence, plus the gold Mega Ball.

Currently, Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 pm Eastern Time. Below, we’ve listed the ten most recent wins:

Date Prize Won
October 14, 2022 $502 million
July 29, 2022 $1.33 billion
April 15, 2022 $20 million
April 12, 2022 $110 million
March 8, 2022 $128 million
January 28, 2022 $426 million
October 22, 2021 $108 million
September 21, 2021 $432 million
June 8, 2021 $56 million
May 21, 2021 $515 million
February 16, 2021 $96 million
January 22, 2021 $1 billion
September 15, 2020 $119 million
July 31, 2020 $22 million
July 24, 2020 $124 million

An Intro to US In-State Lotteries

America can be a weird place sometimes. And no, we’re not talking about the perpetual adventures of Florida Man. Thanks to the existence of 50 states in our great nation, everything from laws to food often differ greatly.

And yes – these differences extend to lotteries as well. Today, we’ll talk about the dozens of in-state lotteries that exist across the US. So, without further delay, let’s jump right in.

What is an In-State Lottery?

As the term suggests, an in-state lottery is a lottery draw that takes place within a particular state. For example, unlike Mega Millions, which sells tickets in 45 states, the California State Lottery only sells tickets in California.

Now, as an out-of-state player, you may be able to play in these lotteries. However, you must buy a ticket from a retailer in that state.

Which States Have In-State Lotteries?

In all, 43 states have an in-state lottery. So, it’s easier to list the states that don’t have one. And those places are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

In most cases, you can just drive across a state border and play. But pour one out for our friends in Alaska and Hawaii – it’s not exactly practical to fly to Seattle or San Francisco just to buy lottery tickets!

How Are These Lotteries Different From Each Other?

With 43 different states, there are significant differences in how their lotteries are administered. This situation affects everything from how much goes to charities, staff payroll, and prizes.

Surprisingly, player prizes are the factor that varies the most. Idaho has the most generous lottery, with 78.53% of ticket sales going to jackpots and prizes. At the other extreme, you have West Virginia, which only diverts 16.97% of ticket sales to lottery payouts.

But before you blame greedy lottery executives, let’s look at the breakdown of each dollar spent on tickets. In Idaho, 67 cents of every dollar goes to prizes, 26 cents to charitable proceeds, and 6 cents to administration.

In West Virginia, a whopping 79 cents goes to charity, 16 cents goes to prizes and 5 cents to admin. And as you explore most other states, you see the same thing. In cases where prize payouts are low, charities win. And when charitable allocations are lower, the prize payouts are higher.

Admin pay isn’t a big factor in most states – at the most, administrators get 17 cents of every dollar in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Which In-State Lotteries Should I Play?

According to our analysis, Idaho (78.53%), North Dakota (74.93%), and Massachusetts (73.72%) are 1-2-3 in the percentage of ticket sales returning as winnings. So, buy your tickets there, pick your numbers, and cross your fingers. Good luck!

Lotteries vs. Jackpot Slots: Which Game Has Superior Win Odds?

The lottery offers massive cash prizes, but nearly impossible win odds. Discouraged by this reality, some players have opted to play jackpot slots instead. But are the win odds of these games better than the lottery? We’ll investigate that question in today’s post. Virtually everyone dreams of winning the lottery. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy having their money concerns vanish instantly?

But this dream is tempered by reality: the odds of winnings are extremely long. However, state lotteries aren’t the only show in town. Online casinos have offered jackpot slots boasting prizes as large as many lottery draws in the past decade.

So, that begs the question: do you have a better chance of winning a jackpot slot’s top prize, or are lotteries where it’s at? Before we answer that question, though, it helps to understand how lotteries and jackpot slots work. That way, you can better appreciate why the odds are the way they are.

How Do Lotteries Work?

In most cases, lottery draws require players to pick a series of numbers. In the case of Powerball and Mega Millions, you choose five numbers, plus a special number (e.g., the Powerball or Mega Ball). To win either lottery, you must match all five numbers in sequence, plus the special number.

How Do Jackpot Slots Work?

When you play a jackpot slot, a percentage of every wager made goes towards that game’s jackpot. Sometimes, it feeds a single jackpot, but in others, it funds multiple jackpots (e.g., Mega Moolah has a Mini, Minor, Major, and a Mega jackpot).

The mechanics of jackpot slots vary from one game to another. But usually, the game will randomly whisk a player off to the jackpot round. There, they’ll play a game where they’ll attempt to win the jackpot (or one of the jackpots).

Naturally, the odds of taking down the biggest jackpot are the longest. But in multi-jackpot games, the player usually leaves with at least the smallest jackpot (typically with a payoff in the tens of dollars).

Which Game Has Better Win Odds?

On the surface, jackpot slots appear to be superior to lottery draws. And it’s not hard to see why – with multiple jackpots up for grabs, players usually leave the jackpot round with a bigger bankroll. But what do the numbers say?

Like anything in life, it depends. So let’s start with the lottery first. Smaller lotteries, like Mexico’s Chispazo and Texas’s Cash Five, have excellent jackpot odds. In these contests, you have jackpot win odds of 1:98,280 and 1:324,632, respectively.

But if you buy tickets for massive draws like Powerball and Mega Millions, the odds get astronomical (and NOT in your favor). For example, Powerball players have to defy 1:292 million odds to win, while Mega Millions buyers have it worse at 1:302 million.

So, do jackpot slots have this contest sewed up? No – in fact, in some cases, their win odds are WORSE than Powerball and Mega Millions. Unlike state lotteries, though, casinos and slot developers are secretive about these numbers. However, based on expert estimates, jackpot win odds can be as high as 1:30 billion.

Thankfully, most jackpot slots have far friendlier odds than that. On average, these games feature win odds of 1:50 to 100 million. As a general rule, the smaller a jackpot, the better your win odds will be.

Conclusion

You’re no better off playing the lottery over jackpot slots, or vice versa. Don’t play these games to make money – play for entertainment. Even if you don’t hit pay dirt, the thrill of close finishes will make up for it (as will the consolation prizes).

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