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Props To The State Of California For Pulling Off One Of The Greatest Heists Of All Time With This Powerball Drawing

NYT - After an overnight delay held up the drawing of the largest jackpot in American history on Monday, lottery officials in California said Tuesday that a winning, $2 billion ticket was sold in Los Angeles County.

The California Lottery said the “only winning” Powerball ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, a gas station just north of Pasadena. Lottery officials said the ticket holder is now the first lottery billionaire in the state. The identity of the winner has not been announced yet.

Powerball officials announced the winning numbers on Tuesday morning: 10, 33, 41, 47 and 56, with another 10 as the Powerball. The video announcing the winning numbers did not address the delay. The winning ticket matched all six numbers.

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Giphy Images.
Giphy Images.
Giphy Images.
Giphy Images.

Powerball officials announced the winning numbers on Tuesday morning: 10, 33, 41, 47 and 56, with another 10 as the Powerball. The video announcing the winning numbers did not address the delay. The winning ticket matched all six numbers.

The drawing, originally scheduled for 10:59 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, had been delayed by several hours because one of the 48 participating state lotteries needed “extra time to complete the required security protocols,” Powerball said in a statement.

A Minnesota lottery official said in an email that, after “unprecedented lottery interest,” its “sales verification system caused a processing delay.” The official added that “the integrity of the process” was never compromised, and that the Minnesota State Lottery was “conducting a thorough review.”

Of course the integrity of THE LOTTERY was never compromised.

Fun Fact - did you know the origins of the state run lotteries we know and love so much, like so many other things we know and love, were started by the private sector, a group of entrepreneurial individuals whom the state dubbed "organized criminals" because they were profitting in ways the state wasn't able to get their hands on. AKA levy taxes. Before the mob, or if you were in an area the mob wasn't prevalent, neighborhoods used to pool money together and play "the numbers" based on various sequences, like how the stock market would close, box scores of random baseball games, and other shit that could be found in a newspaper. 

It actually dates back to nearly the beginning of time 

The first recorded signs of a lottery are keno slips from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC. These lotteries are believed to have helped to finance major government projects like the Great Wall of China. From the Chinese Book of Songs (2nd millennium BC.) comes a reference to a game of chance as "the drawing of wood", which in context appears to describe the drawing of lots.

The first known European lotteries were held during the Roman Empire, mainly as an amusement at dinner parties. Each guest would receive a ticket, and prizes would often consist of fancy items such as dinnerware. Every ticket holder would be assured of winning something. This type of lottery, however, was no more than the distribution of gifts by wealthy noblemen during the Saturnalian revelries. The earliest records of a lottery offering tickets for sale is the lottery organized by Roman Emperor Augustus. The funds were for repairs in the City of Rome, and the winners were given prizes in the form of articles of unequal value.

Here's a great short video on it all -

But the precursor to "legal", government run lotteries were always the underground "numbers games". In the United States the most popular ones were those of the 1800s, which operated out of "Policy shops" where bettors choose numbers. In 1875, a report of a select committee of the New York State Assembly stated that "the lowest, meanest, worst form … [that] gambling takes in the city of New York, is what is known as policy playing". The game was also popular in Italian neighborhoods known as the Italian lottery, and it was known in Cuban communities as bolita ("little ball"). By the early 20th century, the game was associated with poor communities, and could be played for as little as $0.01. The game's attractions to low-income and working-class bettors were the ability to bet small amounts of money, and that bookies could extend credit to the bettor. In addition, policy winners could avoid paying income tax. Different policy banks would offer different rates, though a payoff of 600 to 1 was typical. Since the odds of winning were 1000:1, the expected profit for racketeers was enormous

All that said, those games were notoriously fixed, and rigged, and people knew they were. Yet the allure of getting insanely rich, very quickly intoxicated the public to continue to play.

I remember reading in a history book in high school about how it took several states forever to legalize "the lottery" and set up their own shop because they deemed it too predatory, problematic, unethical, etc. (Sound familiar?) 

Eventually, they caved in after seeing the kind of business other states were doing, and almost always under the guise of "paying for civic projects." Massachusetts for example pledged that all of their lottery profits would go towards building and improving the state's highways and infrastructure, which were in desperate need of it, and of course everybody's favorite broken-promise, the public school system.

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The Lottery is one of the most well oiled machines going when you think about it. 

It runs in every state in the country, every night of the week, in some way shape or form. Yes, some are national lotteries with several states participating, such as Powerball, and run less frequently, but with larger pots, but still, they've been doing this for years now. They've got a system for crying out loud! They have beautiful and stable apps you can use so you don't have to go to the store for crying out loud! 

When news dropped late last night that there had suddenly been a "glitch" and a very ambiguous "safety protocol issue" that would delay the live drawing indefinitely, it sounded shady as hell.

When they made the announcement they would be drawing the balls in front of trusted auditors and posting the video on YouTube for us schmucks to watch in the morning it reached an entirely new level of shadiness. 

Now, we come to find out that, wouldn't you know it, there's one, single winner, who bought the ticket from an old run-down auto body, on the outskirts of LA, in Powerball's homestate, that doesn't even appear in google or have a real listing.

If this story doesn't boost your confidence in the integrity of the lottery, and MUSL, than nothing will.

Speaking of the MUSL, what is it exactly? This friendly twitter user put me on to the organization last night.

The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is an American non-profit, government-benefit association owned and operated by agreement of its 34 member lotteries. MUSL was created to facilitate the operation of multi-jurisdictional lottery games, most notably Powerball.

MUSL was formed in December 1987, by seven U.S. lotteries. Its first game was launched in February 1988, Lotto America. That game was changed to Powerball; its first drawing was in April 1992. Powerball was a unique game using two drums, suggested to MUSL by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery.

Our governments who run these schemes are free to ban outside competition — including private slot machines, phone betting, instant pull tabs, and card rooms. The feds help out by limiting sweepstakes and Internet gambling, as well as exempting state-lottery marketing materials from Federal Trade Commission regulations that guarantee truth in advertising.

While cracking down on ads for everything from cereal to toothpaste to cars, Washington protects states that spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year falsely promising “a dollar and a dream,” “everyone is a winner” and “somebody’s gotta win — might as well be you.”

In New York last fall, the attorney general outlawed daily fantasy sports leagues as illegal games of chance that deceptively hooked in the gullible — while the state lottery promoted its motto, “Hey, You Never Know.”

If public lottery pimps were private corporate entities, they’d be charged with predatory behavior. To entice their at-risk target audience of elderly citizens and low-wage workers, state officials saturate the airwaves around the first of each month. Why? As a candid advertising plan for the Ohio Super Lotto directed many years ago:

Schedule heavier media weight during those times of the month where consumer disposable income peaks. . . . Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month.

Billboards in Chicago slums claim lottery purchases “could be your ticket out.” The Illinois lottery lures players to “joy someone with holiday scratch-offs.” In Maine, an analysis by Cornell University and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting last fall found:

For every one percent increase in joblessness in a given zip code, lottery sales jump 10 percent, the original research shows. And people in Maine’s poorest regions spend as much as 200 times more person than those in wealthier areas.

So we'll sit and wait for this "lucky" person to come forward and collect their prize. I can't wait to hear the story we're peddled as this story continues to stink more and more like horseshit.

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p.s.- nothing but respect to the king and queen, Jerry and Marge Selbees, who put one over on the lottery and hammered them on a loophole. awesome story.