Chasing The Montana Powerball? Read This First
It was big news when the Montana Powerball jackpot went over $1,000,000,000. Then bigger still when the jackpot didn't get hit Saturday, October 29th. Then even bigger when it didn't get hit on Monday, October 31st. And now, after Wednesday's drawing, the top prize has reached a whopping $1.5 billion for all 5 numbers plus the Powerball number for the Saturday, November 5th drawing. The cash option is $745.9 million for a lump sum...that is IF you're the lucky winner.
Or would you consider yourself "lucky"? Really? It sounds great on the surface...a stupidly obscene amount of money you could do anything you want with; you could stay in Montana to spend your newfound wealth, buy yourself houses, cars, help your family out with houses and cars, buy your friends houses and cars...
...or buy a fancy house/car hybrid. This one costs $3 million dollars.
But as they say, "It's not the destination, it's the journey." And before you go chasing that Montana Powerball hoping to strike it rich, here's why I'm not going to.
Want Sad? Here You Go
Before I got into radio, I spent 16 years working in casinos. Not Montana casinos where all you have are slot machines, I was "on the rack" as a dealer, dealing real cards to real people, dealing with real money in real time, and watching human beings experience extreme emotions to losing real money with real consequences. Blackjack, live poker, all kinds of table games poker, carnival games...you name it I dealt it.
When you think of gambling, you might conjure up images of winning. But in my experience, most gamblers end up looking a lot like this:
Defeated, depressed, frustrated. And then coming back to lose more the next day.
Working in that kind of hyper-competitive, addicting environment exposes you to human beings at their worst, and I saw it almost every day. From angry drunk gamblers to retired grandmas who were casually blowing their retirement savings right in front of me, all I could do was deal the cards and wish them good luck. It's soul-annihilating. Worse yet, I saw it so much that the end of my career I had long since become numb to it.
I don't have any pictures which could help illustrate my time in the casinos, save one: from right after I clocked out for the last time. Look how happy I am! I was free from ever having to see another dejected customer ever again.
You can buy more Powerball tickets if you want to. It's not my place to tell any Montanan what to do. But "throwing good money after bad" is exactly what I'd be doing in trying to chase becoming a billionaire, and neither the journey, the destination or my sanity are worth it. Good luck if you are playing! You're gonna need it.
p.s. if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, here's a good place to start.