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# Keeping Lady Luck on My Side

Stuart said today on Varney & Co. that the lottery is a waste of time and a tax on the poor but I’m willing to waste my time and say that I could use the millions! Powerball jackpot tonight will be at least \$500 million tonight, a half of a BILLION dollars, but what are the chances of me winning? Not very good. There is a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of winning to be exact says a North Dakota State University mathematics professor. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you are more likely to die: from a bee sting (1 in 6.1 million) or from being struck by lightning (1 in 3 million).

So far, so good, I have been stung by a bee dozens of times and I’m A-OK and I don’t even know anyone who was struck by lightning! People from the Florida Museum of Natural History say that you are more likely to be attacked by a shark (1 in 11.5 million) than win this jackpot; I have been to the beach almost every single year of my life … and I’ll take my chances.

Today on Varney & Co, Stuart made two points about the Powerball jackpot and how state lotteries are a lousy deal:

1. When you buy a \$2 ticket, you are immediately subjected to a 50% tax because \$1 goes to the administration and to the state

2. If you win, you are subjected to another huge tax. It’s the best way to tax the poor.

He is right, of course, \$1 of your \$2 ticket does go to the state to cover administrative costs and you face an enormous tax if you win. It’s a tax on the poor because the majority of lotto players are the less fortunate. Sure, the \$2 could be put to better use but why not take a quick pick and hope for some luck? Stuart’s points are accurate but I will still take my chances. At its current \$500 million dollar jackpot - one winner could take home a lump-sum cash value of \$327 million up front! \$327 million! If I can avoid bees and lightning and I keep away from sharks, lady luck could continue to stay on my side.

Varney & Co. with Stuart Varney gives you the 411 on today’s Wall Street news and how it impacts you.