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Old 04-14-2005, 12:20 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Can you legally redeem a lottery ticket anonymously or by proxy?

... in the unlikely event I ever do win, the very last thing I'd want to do is deal with the influx of opportunists, moneygrubbers and golddiggers waiting to pounce, and these include certain people in my family. I'd prefer to have the money and live my life pretty much the way I do now -- quiet and unassuming -- with no TV newscameras, no magazine interviews, nothin' but the annual check.

It occurred to me that maybe I can should still be able to expect a reasonable amount of privacy in a way that doesn't make me the target of identity theives -- by even if I did win umpteen million bucks. I mean, I'd pay the taxes and all, and agree to minimal publicity to promote the lottery, but are there steps I can take to actively keep my actual name and face out of it?

F'rinstance-- could I get my brother to sign a contract whereby I pay him to do all the public gladhanding and photo ops so that HE'S publically identified as the lottery winner -- but in actuality it's me, my winnings, I'd pay the taxes, I'd get to stay out of the lottery fervor? Could I make this arrangement with a stranger off the street?

Could I employ the services of a doctor, lawyer or priest who redeems my ticket on my behalf, cites "confidentiality" and does all the gladhanding and camera-waving for me? They can also do the interviews where they discuss my desire for privacy.

Can I show up to the lottery offices with a mask? Can I insist that I be handed over my check off-camera -- or if I MUST be on camera, can I do so with my face in silhouette and voice distortion, or with digitally blurred video and audio, referring to me as Mr. X?

Whattya think?
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:57 AM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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No doubt the situation differs by jurisdiction. Here most prizes are paid as lump sums, not annual payments. We also have a system of player registration so that, in most cases, the Lotto officials will contact the major-prize winner directly to tell him of his good luck. The winner can then choose to remain anonymous if he wishes. It's a relative anonymity, rather than an absolute anonymity though. If you win, then your bank is certainly going to find out when you deposit the cheque. And the tax office will find out as soon as you start declaring all of the additional income earnings on the prize money. And so on...
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:02 AM
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Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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I think in the PA lottery, they must reveal the names of winners. It has something to do with keeping the lottery honest-that way, they have to verify that people DO win, so someone can't accuse them of fraud.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:04 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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Most (all?) US lotteries include as part of the prize-claiming rules that the winner releases the use of his or her image for purposes of promoting the lottery.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:13 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Otto: but do any of these lotteries have rules that expressly PROHIBITS the use of a proxy?
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:57 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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That I don't know; I was addressing my answer more toward the "can I insist they blur out my face" portion of the OP.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:35 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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I ran across a site which answered this question a while back. Your lawyer sets up a trust, generally with himself as the main trustee, and you as the beneficiary. You give the winning ticket over to the trust, which is its only asset. The trust redeems the ticket, and the trustee is the only contact with the lottery commission. When the trust has received the money, it is paid out, by the trust to the beneficiary (you). When all the money has been paid out, the trust is dissolved.

Obviously, you have to be able to trust the lawyer.

In our state, they publish a list of the lottery winners, and every other one is named "Anonymity Trust", "MYOB Trust", "Ehrewon Trust", etc.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:46 AM
mittu mittu is offline
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I'm 99% sure that in the U.K. National Lottery (and possibly in the EuroMillions) you can request to remain anonymous, which works to a certain degree. In the cases of the regular wins nobody cares who has won, it is only in the cases of multiple rollovers where the jackpot becomes much more significant that the newspapers start a hunt for the winner (who nearly always choses to remain anonymous). It doesn't take long for the newspapers to dig out who has won, usually from tip offs from "friends" or neighbours. It doesn't take a genius to come to the conclusion that the guy in the 15 year old rust-bucket car who recently bought a Ferrari and a Bentley may have been the winner.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:49 AM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
No doubt the situation differs by jurisdiction. Here most prizes are paid as lump sums, not annual payments. We also have a system of player registration so that, in most cases, the Lotto officials will contact the major-prize winner directly to tell him of his good luck. The winner can then choose to remain anonymous if he wishes. It's a relative anonymity, rather than an absolute anonymity though. If you win, then your bank is certainly going to find out when you deposit the cheque. And the tax office will find out as soon as you start declaring all of the additional income earnings on the prize money. And so on...

It's unlikely (but hardly inconceivable) that someone would actually deposit a US $150 million winning check into their bank checking account, but I get your point: hiding overnight millions is difficult. That's why it's important to get top-drawer financial advisers and let them shield it for you. Electronic wire transfers make such transactions quick, easy and virtually untraceable.

If I went the attorney route, I'd find an established firm, not Joe Ambulance Chaser. Next, contractually obligate the consulting attorney not to disclose your identity whatsoever. Also make sure you relocate to another home, change your telephone number, have someone screen your mail, and occasionally look over your shoulder. Problem is, in this era of data mining, poorly protected personal information, and tabloids, it would be difficult to conceal your identity for long.

The headaches would be considerable, but I'd be willing to suffer them.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:02 AM
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Scowl menancingly when they take your picture, and it's unlikely it would be used for publicity purposes. You may be legally required to let them photograph you, but you don't have to like it!
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:18 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I just websearched the question and found a Virginia Lottery FAQ page that specifically said you can't use a trust or LLC to claim a prize anonymously. But other states may permit it.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:59 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Dewey Finn: Link? I must be on some other Virginia Lottery FAQ page.

The idea of using a proxy is different. It's like: my attorney (and maybe a priest, too) shows up at the Lottery Comission with my winning ticket, stresses my extreme desire for privacy, offers up a proxy who has entered into a contract with me to use his name, address, ID and image as the PUBLIC winner of the lottery and does all the crap I'd rather avoid, like the big check publicity shoot, and interviews and deaing with sob story letters, phone calls and distant reatives who suddenly need tummy tucks. Meanwhile PRIVATELY payments are paid directly to me, not to a trust: all taxes are paid by me, all my public debts and obligations are paid by me. so there's no question I'm trying to defraud anybody. I am unquestionably trying to distance myself from publicity and celebrity.

You can vote in shareholders meetings by proxy and marry by proxy and these are legally recognized. Why not claim a multimillion dollar prize the same way?
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Old 04-14-2005, 10:20 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Here you go. And here is one sentence from that page:

Quote:
Virginia state law stipulates that a person must claim a prize; winners cannot claim a Virginia Lottery prize with a limited liability company or a trust, for example.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
Dewey Finn: Link? I must be on some other Virginia Lottery FAQ page.

The idea of using a proxy is different. It's like: my attorney (and maybe a priest, too) shows up at the Lottery Comission with my winning ticket, stresses my extreme desire for privacy, offers up a proxy who has entered into a contract with me to use his name, address, ID and image as the PUBLIC winner of the lottery and does all the crap I'd rather avoid, like the big check publicity shoot, and interviews and deaing with sob story letters, phone calls and distant reatives who suddenly need tummy tucks. Meanwhile PRIVATELY payments are paid directly to me, not to a trust: all taxes are paid by me, all my public debts and obligations are paid by me. so there's no question I'm trying to defraud anybody. I am unquestionably trying to distance myself from publicity and celebrity.

You can vote in shareholders meetings by proxy and marry by proxy and these are legally recognized. Why not claim a multimillion dollar prize the same way?
But aren't certain persons specifically ineligible to enter the contest?
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:33 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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As for your proxy idea, my understanding is that whoever shows up with the winning ticket gets the money (and the publicity). Whatever agreement you've made with the proxy isn't the concern of the lottery authorities. So you'd be better be sure that you've got an ironclad agreement with the proxy. Otherwise the proxy might just walk away with the money (perhaps in conspiracy with the lawyer, so you'd better trust him as well).
  #16  
Old 04-14-2005, 11:42 AM
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silenus silenus is online now
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I don't know.....I think weeks, nay months of fun could be had jerking around people who want to leach off of my winnings. Lead them to believe that you will be giving money to people who demonsrate some bizarre talent. Make them pubically humiliate themselves, then don't give them a dime.

One of my personal fantasies in winning the lottery involves offering to donate millions to a liberal university......but only if it is used to endow a conservative chair in something.
  #17  
Old 04-14-2005, 05:06 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnac the Magnificent!
It's unlikely (but hardly inconceivable) that someone would actually deposit a US $150 million winning check into their bank checking account, but I get your point: hiding overnight millions is difficult.
The major prizes here are nowhere near as large as the rather obscene amounts that get handed out in the US. The average weekly prize is probably $3-5 million. I think the largest prize has been $30 million, several years ago.
  #18  
Old 04-14-2005, 06:18 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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delaware allows you to be anon when claiming a prize.

i've noticed if you win under say 80 million or so, there tends to be less media whoopla than if you win 180 million. so just buy tickets for the lesser prizes.
  #19  
Old 04-14-2005, 06:52 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocking chair
delaware allows you to be anon when claiming a prize.

i've noticed if you win under say 80 million or so, there tends to be less media whoopla than if you win 180 million. so just buy tickets for the lesser prizes.
C'mon -- you think I'm going to waste my weekly $100 on just a measly 80 million?
  #20  
Old 04-14-2005, 08:28 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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I've thought about this quite a bit as well. If I were to win the lottery (unlikely; I buy maybe 6 tickets/year), I would want to have it kept as quiet as reasonably possible under the circumstances. A couple ideas I threw around:
  • Use my middle name as the name I "go by" when I claim the winnings. This will likely be the name used in the publicity releases and news articles, and if it's a name people don't associate with me, they may not notice. This also shouldn't be a problem with the bank (you can have them make the paychecks to FirstInital MiddleName You)
  • Wait until a day that has some really huge news event to claim the prize. A poliltical election's good, or a huge national issue. This way, a human interest story like this will most likely be buried or shelved altogether on the local news.
  • If necessary, set up "temporary residence" in another town or city (I live in CA, so this would be more productive than, say, Delaware). Just rent a cheapo apartment for a couple months (heck, you're a millionare--you'll earn it back) somewhere geographically separate than you. Then, a few months later (when your big news event occurs), you can claim it and give the other address as your residence. This means the news outlets near there will be more likely to cover it than the ones where you live, plus you'll be MiddleName You from SomewhereElse, so people again won't notice. This, again, shouldn't be a big deal since the lottery's not going to mail anything important to you there--just cancel the rent once the money's in the bank (direct deposit, of course)
  • If you think there will be a photo involved, do some quickie disguise work. Glasses (if you don't wear them), hair color (easy to change and change back), and unusual clothes (stuff your friends wouldn't associate with you) should do the trick (since most of you will be hiding behind a big check anyway).
This may seem extreme, but when I say I wouldn't want anyone to know, I mean Nobody. My wife, of course, and maybe my Mom, but that's it.

Not only will this decrease the unwanted attention you have from needy "friends", distant relations, and strangers, but if you do adopt a complete and total plan of deception, you will be forced to restrain yourself from conspicuous consumption. Personally, I'm more interested in keeping such a big thing private than in buying an expensive sportscar or wardrobe. Save, invest, and treat ourselves in non-showy ways, and people won't notice any difference that will raise alarms.

See? I've got it all planned out. Now, I only have to win...
  #21  
Old 04-14-2005, 09:53 PM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchiveGuy
I've thought about this quite a bit as well. If I were to win the lottery (unlikely; I buy maybe 6 tickets/year), I would want to have it kept as quiet as reasonably possible under the circumstances. A couple ideas I threw around:

See? I've got it all planned out. Now, I only have to win...


An excellent textbook answer, but the real world throws a few wrenches in your plan. Acquaintances and foes would certainly discover your sudden windfall. One well-placed call to the media and your masquerade is kaput. Never underestimate the media's relentlessness or the pettiness of the envious. And while waiting to claim your winnings is theoretically smart, waiting, say, four months socks you with a huge loss of interest earnings.

I suggest giving your winning ticket to me. I promise not to say a word.
  #22  
Old 04-14-2005, 11:49 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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I never play the lottery anyway, because it's throwing away money i can ill-afford to lose.

But i've often wondered if i'd be able to claim the prize. I'm a foreigner here in the US on an F1 student visa. My official status for tax purposes is non-resident alien, and my visa prohibits me from taking work away from my university campus.

I'm not sure whether there would be any rule—whether tax related, visa related, or whatever—that would prevent me from claiming my winnings. If there's one thing worse than not winning the lottery, it would be winning and being told that you're ineligible to collect.

There must be some law covering this. I mean, there are thousands of foreigners who stop of in Vegas as part of their US vacations, and i assume that there must be some law that allows them to take winnings (ha ha) with them?
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Old 04-15-2005, 09:11 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is online now
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Keeping it from friends and family is one thing, but why the rest of the public? Are there really these kinds of stupid problems? And how good is the publicity? Other than that school teacher in Wisconson several years ago, I have no idea who ever wins the lottery. Where the heck is this stuff publicized anyway? Is it really that big a deal?

I'm not challenging anything here, but rather asking to be enlightened.
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:49 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthisar
Keeping it from friends and family is one thing, but why the rest of the public? Are there really these kinds of stupid problems? And how good is the publicity? Other than that school teacher in Wisconson several years ago, I have no idea who ever wins the lottery. Where the heck is this stuff publicized anyway? Is it really that big a deal?

I'm not challenging anything here, but rather asking to be enlightened.
Charities and other professional moochers keep track of winners. There are tales of winners being hounded by scam artists, being sued for paternity by "old girlfriends," and of course parents of "sick children" who can only receive treatment for two weeks in the carribbean.
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:01 PM
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In CA, you can specify that the Lottery cannot use your name or image. So a winner can remain anonymous, except to the IRS of course!

If I were to win it (heh), I would have a quiet meeting with my accountant, my broker and a great tax guy I know. Once I'd put the various trusts and things in place, I would then claim the prize and pay all the taxes. My immediate family would reap the benefits on the condition that nobody says a fucking word about me winning the lottery, ever. I have kids and they wouldn't be safe if the whole damn world knew I was a milionaire.
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Old 04-15-2005, 05:13 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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Originally Posted by EJsGirl
I have kids and they wouldn't be safe if the whole damn world knew I was a milionaire.
While i understand not wanting the whole world to know, i think the whole "my kids wouldn't be safe" thing is probably a little paranoid, and the result of too many TV show and movie plots showing kidnappings with ransom demands.

There are plenty of people with plenty of money whose children don't go around with armed body guards.
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:03 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
Make them pubically humiliate themselves
There's an interesting mental image!

If I were to win, I would definitely look for a way to keep it secret. Of course, I'm unlikely to win, since I don't play--lotteries are simply a tax on people who are bad at math.

Once, long ago, I was written up in a major financial news magazine because of a savvy move made by a company that I started. I was excited by this until the phone calls began. Stockbrockers, insurance salesmen, "investment counselors," commodities brokers, companies looking for funding... It went on and on and on for close to a year. It was a horrible, nasty experience, and the worst part was that the company's manouver written up in the magazine didn't actually make me any money! All of my assets were tied up in this little company I had started and I couldn't have invested with these idiots even if I'd wanted to.

Some of them actually got rude with me when I told them this, and a couple of them actually swore at me (both New Yorkers, interestingly).

I would *never* want the media to know if I had money!
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Old 04-16-2005, 10:02 AM
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I think in Florida you can claim it anonymously. In fact, I think I heard some lottery official say that there are some funds that are paid into a trust and they have no idea of the identity of the winner.
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Old 04-16-2005, 05:58 PM
jimmmy jimmmy is offline
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There are also Agents. From here
http://www.lotteryshop.com/usa-mega/faq.html


If I should win the Jackpot, do I have the option of remaining anonymous as far as the public and the media are concerned?
Normally, in most States, lottery winner information is in the public domain; therefore it is public information. Publicized information normally includes the Jackpot winner's name, city, country, game in which they won, date won, and the amount of the prize.

If you are playing Mega-millions through OSA, however, you have the option to retain your anonymity, as our accredited Lottery agent will be claiming the prize on your behalf


Mhendo (from the same site):
there is no law prohibiting a non-US citizen from playing or winning any US lottery. You may enter Mega Millions online through Overseas Subscribers Agents ahttp://www.lotteryshop.com/usa-mega/faq.html

IIRC (and I think I do but I can’t find a link) an illegal (Cambodian ?) immigrant won a fairly hefty sum and some folks wanted to take it away -- but he kept it and bought a ton of lawyerin’ that was fighting to keep him in the U.S
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Old 04-16-2005, 08:50 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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If I one the lottery, I would want all the publicity I could get. Simply to see how many women suddenly decide that my lame ass is pretty hot.
  #31  
Old 04-16-2005, 09:53 PM
hyjyljyj hyjyljyj is offline
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From http://www.jewishworldreview.com/020...sked020504.asp

"The way you calculate independent probability is to multiply the odds. The odds of being struck [by lightning] once in your lifetime are one in 3,000. The odds of being struck twice in your lifetime are one in 9,000,000.

"...It's often said that your odds of being struck by lightning are better than your odds of winning the lottery. That's a vast understatement. Your odds of winning the Powerball multi-state lottery jackpot are about one in 120,526,770."

Your odds of wasting $100 a week for nothing are, statistically speaking, virtually indistinguishable from 100%. But good news! You can have the same amount of fun and have about the same chance of not winning the lottery by only dropping $1 a week. Here's how I look at it: My odds of winning the lottery take their biggest jump when I buy the first ticket. That takes me from absolute zero chance (or 1 in infinity) to 1 in about 18,000,000 (I live in Florida). So I drop a buck a week if I happen to think about it. Every subsequent ticket after that makes a statistically insignificant impact on my chance of winning but wastes a lot more money. "Improving" my odds of winning by buying a second ticket only jumps me to 1 in 9,000,000--same as my odds of being struck by lightning TWICE--but costs me 100% more money. Compared to the first jump, that's not much bang for my buck. And the jumps keep getting smaller from there. Dropping $100 on 100 tickets only gives me a 1 in 1,800,000 chance of winning. I'm 600 times more likely to be struck by lightning. Yet, unfathomably, people do this every week. Blowing $100,000 on 100,000 tickets would still leave me only a 1 in 180 shot of winning the jackpot. Those odds suck. Would I get on a bus if I knew I had only 1 chance in 180 of making it to my destination alive? How about 1 in 18? I sure wouldn't, and I'll lay you 18 to 1 odds you wouldn't either.

Have fun and I hope you win. I hope I win too, but I'm not counting on it.
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