Good Grief! 

There's no evidence Powerball or Mega Millions are rigged!


When the jackpots for the Powerball and the Mega Millions lotteries reach very large amounts, you will often see many people on social media platforms make statements claiming these lotteries are "fixed" or "rigged," etc.  You will also often see many comments indicating California or Florida are the only states that are winning, and because of this there is no point in playing at all.

For example, below is just a small, SMALL sample of some of these comments via Facebook, from a recent post an upcoming Powerball drawing:


I'm not kidding, there are hundreds of similar type of comments, not just for this particular post, but for all others like it.  (I could spend all day making copies of them.)

Good grief! 

First of all, there is absolutely no evidence Powerball or Mega Millions is fixed or rigged.  None.  Zero. 

Secondly, you have the exact same chance of winning no matter where you purchase your ticket.

Now, if you choose not to play those two multi-state lotteries, that's fine. I don't play them myself.

Let me repeat that.  Despite this webpage, I do not play lotteries.  I'm one of those who believes lotteries are an tax on those who are bad at math.  (In fact, since you don't have to pay this tax, it's an involuntary tax.)

But if you are choosing not to play because you are not from California and thus you believe your chances of winning are not as good, or you think the system is rigged, etc., then you are choosing not to play for a very poor reason.

The state of California is going to produce a lot of winners because... are you ready... that state sells a lot of tickets! It's simply math! It's simply probability!

You can verify for yourself the number of tickets sold in each state at the lottoreport website.

California sells far more Powerball and Mega Millions tickets than any other state.  If you believe otherwise, please provide me with a drawing in which this is not true.  I've been reviewing the data from lottoreport for a long time, and I have yet to see any drawing where California did not sell more tickets than any other state.

For the 12/30/23 Powerball drawing, California and Florida combined for more than 23% of all sales!  Nearly one fourth of all of the tickets purchased for that drawing (760 M jackpot) were from those two states!

That's a large percentage!  Other Powerball and Mega Millions drawings show similar percentages. 

CA and FL and NY and TX sell a lot of lottery tickets.  Of course you are going to get more winners from those states!

For the November 7, 2022, Powerball drawing, the jackpot at that time was advertised at an estimated 2.04 billion.  California sold far more tickets for that drawing than any other state.  Is it any surprise that state produced the winner?

Again, you can verify all of this at the above mentioned lottoreport website, which breaks down the sales from each state, for the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings.  CA had $80.6 million in sales for that 11/7/22 drawing. The state with the second highest sales was Florida, with just $46.4 million. Texas was not far behind, with $42.3 million in sales, followed closely by New York with $40.6 million.

For that drawing, you can see that CA sold more tickets than SC, CT, OR, KY, LA, IA, OK, KS, NH, PR, MS, AR, NE, NM, WV, ID, DE, RI, ME, SD, ND, WY, MT, VT, DC, and VI combined. (Copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet and then sort by sales.)   Let's repeat that.  The state of California sold more tickets than 26 other states combined!

Again, when a state sells as many tickets as California does, more than any other state, for each and every drawing, that state is going to produce a lot of winners.

If I number 90 white marbles 1-90, and I number ten black marbles 91-100, and I put all of them in a bag and randomly draw a marble from the bag, there is a much better chance I'm going to draw a white marble than a black marble.  It's simple probability.

And yet I have the same chance of drawing black Marble #91 as I do white Marble #45.  I have the same chance of drawing black Marble #99 as I do white Marble #12.  There is no marble that has a higher probability of being drawn as any other marble.  The same is true with the lottery.  When you purchase a lottery ticket, you have the same chance of winning as anyone else, no matter where you purchase your ticket.

And no, winners are not "always" from California or Florida.  Anyone who claims that is the case is simply wrong.  (Or exaggerating.)  Other states win large jackpots too!

Here's a very small list of some of the Powerball jackpots that were won with a ticket that was not purchased in CA or FL:

01/01/24... $842.4 million... (Michigan)
03/27/19... $768.4 million... (Wisconsin)
02/06/23... $754.6 million... (Washington)
01/20/21... $731.1 million... (Maryland)
10/27/18... $687.8 million... (Iowa, New York)
01/06/18... $559.7 million... (New Hampshire)
07/30/16... $487.0 million... (New Hampshire)
04/27/22... $473.1 million... (Arizona)
03/17/18... $456.7 million... (Pennsylvania)
05/07/16... $429.6 million... (New Jersey)
06/29/22... $366.7 million... (Vermont)
06/01/19... $344.6 million... (North Carolina)
05/19/18... $315.3 million... (New Jersey)

As of March of 2024, here's a list of the top seven Mega Millions jackpots.

1. $1.602 Billion (Florida)
2. $1.537 Billion (South Carolina)
3. $1.348 Billion (Maine)
4. $1.337 Billion (Illinois)
5. $1.128 Billion (New Jersey)
6. $1.105 Billion (Michigan)
7. $656 Million (Kansas, Illinois, Maryland)

Notice that California doesn't appear at all!

Now, if your claim is yes, California and Florida and New York sell a lot of tickets... but they still are winning more often than they should, then demonstrate that.  Prove it.  Show us your evidence.  Show us your calculations.  Show us your data.  Show us your math.

And of course no one has done that.  I see assertions these states win more often than is statically possible... but no actual demonstration it is true.

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."   (Christopher Hitchens)


And no, there's no evidence the game is rigged.  None.  Zero.  The time to believe in something, anything at all, is after there is evidence and a valid justification to warrant that belief.  Not before.

Powerball and Mega Millions are regulated and overseen by state governments and the Multi-State Lottery Association. The drawings are conducted with strict security measures in place to ensure fairness and transparency.

The lotteries are held live.  You can view them via live feeds.  You can view past drawings.  The numbers are drawn randomly via ping pong balls.  Independent companies verify the integrity of the system. 

If you think otherwise, if you think the game is not on the level, WHY do you believe this?  What is the reason for this belief you have?  What is the valid justification you have for such a belief?  Do you have any evidence at all to support it?  If so, why haven't you submitted this evidence to the proper authorities?

I strongly suspect your claim and belief it is rigged is based upon ignorance.  It is based upon personal incredulity.

You haven't looked at or analyzed the integrity of the system.  You haven't looked at or analyzed the total sales of each state, and determined their true percentages.  You haven't looked at these percentages to see if they are in unison with the number of winners from each state.

You haven't done anything at all.  "Seems fishy to me.  Therefore it must be rigged."   I'm sorry, but that's not the proper way to come to a conclusion about something.  That's not a valid reason to believe something is true.

How can people believe in things without a valid justification?  I just don't understand it.  It makes no sense to me.  I don't know about you, but I want to believe in as many true things as possible, and as many false things as possible.

The truth is, lotteries are legitimate and regulated games of chance and there are indeed real winners. Lottery organizations are required to provide transparency in their operations, including how winners are selected and the distribution of prizes. Winners are often publicly announced, and their stories can be found in news reports and on official lottery websites.  While the odds of winning a lottery jackpot are typically very low, people do win significant prizes.

Of course, if you have actual evidence these or other lotteries, are not on the level, that they are indeed fixed, please present this data and evidence so it can be peer-reviewed.  (And then dust off your shelf for your eventual Pulitzer Prize.)

Now, I will admit the odds of winning either lottery is very, very, very low.  Very low.  That doesn't make it a "scam."  In fact, both lotteries give you the courtesy of telling you exactly what your chances of winning are!

The chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.  Now, how unlikely is that? Let's put that into perspective.

They say the odds of you getting struck by lightning are better than winning Powerball. I think that is a very bad analogy. A person who works outdoors in Seattle, for example, has a better chance of being struck by lightning than someone working indoors in San Diego.  It's hard to visualize the lightning analogy.
Here's a better analogy, that everyone should be able to relate to.

Imagine driving from San Diego, California to Seattle, Washington. Once you've reached Seattle, now imagine driving all the way across the country to New York City. Once in New York City, imagine driving down the coast for another seven hours to Raleigh, North Carolina.

If you've ever driving across the country before, you know how long of a drive this is.  In all, you've now driven approximately 4,573 miles and it probably took you about seven days to do so, assuming you drove about 600 miles each day.

San Diego to Seattle = approximately 1,255 miles
Seattle to NYC = approximately 2,831 miles
NYC to Raleigh = approximately 487 miles

There are 5,280 feet in each mile, so this is approximately 24,145,440 feet.
There are twelve inches in each foot, so this is approximately 289,745,280 inches.

Now, imagine all of these inches along the route are marked.  And somewhere along this entire 4,573 mile route, an INCH on the ground has been secretly designated as the "winning inch." At any point during your seven day trip, you can stop your vehicle, get out, look down, point to the ground and select any designated "inch" you want.

If you select the winning inch, you win!

Well folks, you have a better chance of doing this than winning the Powerball lottery!  Yes.  You have a better chance of selecting a winning inch from a pool of 289.7 million inches than you do of picking a winning combination of a pool of 292.2 million combinations.

Mega Millions? The odds of winning that lottery are even worse.  The odds of winning that lottery are 1 in 302.5 million.

Trust me, if the "winning inch" were limited to just the street or road you live on, you are most likely not going to win!

People like to say buying a ticket buys a dream.  Well, you can dream without purchasing a ticket.  For example, simply dream you find a winning ticket which  was lost by someone else who purchased it.  Dream your best friend, who shares everything with you, wins the large jackpot.  Dream that minutes before the deadline, this itme you will break down and purchase what will be the winning ticket. 

You don't have to purchase a ticket to dream.