ITHACA, NY – Could a Tompkins resident become our nation’s next billionaire on Wednesday? Like the motto says, “Hey, you never know.”

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After another winner-less drawing on Saturday, Jan. 9, the national Powerball lottery jackpot rolled over to a record-breaking $1.4 billion dollars – the highest in United States history.

Spending on Powerball tickets has skyrocketed, keeping pace with the growing jackpot – and Tompkins County is no exception.

According to data compiled by the Syracuse Post-Standard, Tompkins residents have spent at least $160,000 on tickets since the last jackpot was won in November of 2015.

That breaks out to a little over $1.60 spent per capita in Tompkins – which is on the low side compared to neighboring counties, some of which clocked in at over $2 or $3 spent per capita, calculated from that report’s data.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 6, New Yorkers had spent a total of $87 million in pursuit of this Powerball jackpot. The morning of the Saturday, Jan. 9 drawing, that number had jumped to over $123.5 million, according to a report. That means nearly $40 million worth of tickets were sold in less than three days.

A week prior, $10 million worth of tickets were bought in the lead-up to a comparably meager $330 million jackpot. Before that, most drawings averaged around $3 to $5 million worth of tickets purchased with jackpots ranging from $40 million to $100 million, per the Post-Standard’s collected data.

If you want to try for the billion, the odds to win are around one in 292.2 million. Or, as one statistics expert told Reuters – the odds are equivalent to flipping a coin 28 times and getting heads every time.

Good luck!

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.