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Powerball lottery hits $510 million — but why you should avoid tickets like the plague

Lottery fever is upon us once again. There were no winners in the $430 million multi-state Powerball lottery on Wednesday, meaning the next draw on Saturday will total $510 million.

There was one winning ticket worth $608,157 and 14 winning tickets worth $11,120, according to the California Powerball website, which encourages people to participate “Grab a ticket and believe in something beyond belief!” But critics say studies overwhelming show that those who buy the most tickets (and on a regular basis) are the ones who can least afford to do so. In fact, the Powerball only becomes “progressive” — meaning that high earners spend more on tickets than more than low earners — when the jackpot is at least $806 million or more, according to this study by Emily Oster, currently a professor of economics at Brown University.

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