Tag Archive | "lottery winners"

And the Lucky Winner Is…?

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Recently, we have been saddened by the disaster in Japan, the violence in Libya, and the deaths of some very notable people.  But, for every gray cloud, there is a silver lining.  The good news is that seven people have won $312 million dollars in the Mega Millions lottery!


That is an astounding amount of money to be divided among seven ordinary people.   Let’s do the math: 


$312,000,000 divided by 7 = $44,571,428 per person


Wow!  A win like that has to be the American Dream.  But, like nocturnal dreams, it’s not real.


According to men like Timothy Geithner, the real amount after taxes is something along the lines of $19,000,000 each.


$19,000,000 X 7 = $133,000,000


Whoa!  That doesn’t add up.  Where did the remaining $179,000,000 go?


Because we are living in times of truth in lending and transparency in government, I feel that the American public deserves to know who or what received the remaining $179,000,000.  This sum represents 57.737179% of the total $312 million, which is considerably more than the total distributed among the winners. After all, casino gambling only claims a 15% profit.  But, I am sure that Tim can explain it.


So, who is the real winner of any of the government operated lotteries that pay less than half the monies bet to the so-called winners?  Before answering that, let’s examine the history of gambling in America.


In the days prior to casino gambling’s legalization in certain States, gambling in America was outlawed.  Remember Eliot Ness? You had to venture beyond U.S. borders to gamble legally.  I believe it was called “the three mile limit.”  On the ocean, however, there are no miles, so the distance had to be converted into knots.  Cuba was a handy gambling spot until Castro rose to power.


Back in the old days, it was called “The Numbers Racket.”  With odds of 500 to 1, you could play for pennies or any amount that the numbers writer could handle. Heavily played numbers, such as 777, were eliminated to protect the bookies from going broke.  They used racetrack results for Win, Place, and Show to establish the winning number.  This was done by selecting the last dollar amount for each category.  For example:


Win – $1004

Place – $582

Show – $478


With these results, 428 would be the winning number.


When you won, the bookie would pay you, tax-free.  The government frowned upon numbers running because the industry created tax-free jobs for the bookies and revenues for winners.  In other words, the government did not get a piece of the coveted pie.


Those days may be gone forever, but many people still fed off the game.  For nearly as long as man has occupied this planet, gambling has existed, along with other vices.  When the gambling industry became consolidated, the government labeled it “organized crime” or “illegal gambling.”  But, simply renaming it has made the practice legal.  What used to be called the numbers racket is now known as the lottery, and gambling houses are now referred to as casinos.  No matter what you call it, it’s all the same.  The only exception now is that, when you win, you must pay taxes.  If that isn’t organized crime, then you name it!


I guess the next thing to become legal will be State-operated whorehouses, which can be renamed something more appealing.  When the State of Nevada legalized prostitution, former houses of ill repute were called “ranches.”  That name conjures up associations with animals, such as bunnies or cougars.  But they all serve up the same menu with taxes included!


So, if you are thinking of doing something illegal, first contact your representative. Let him introduce a tax upon your product or service and instantly, it will be rendered completely legal!


This puts me in mind of the anecdote about the parishioner and the priest.  The parishioner asked, “Father, who won the automobile in last Sunday’s raffle?”  The priest replied, “You’re not going to believe this.  It was the Monsignor.  Wasn’t he lucky!” “And who won the second prize, the television?” asked the parishioner?  The priest crowed, “Oh, by a strange coincidence, I did.  Wasn’t I lucky?”  The priest then asked the parishioner, “How many tickets did you buy?”  The parishioner responded, “None!  Wasn’t I lucky!”


Remember, when the Patriots threw the tea into the Boston Harbor, their beef was all about taxation without representation.  Well, now we’ve got representation, all right.  But when the Establishment walks off with more than half of the prize money, you have wonder, “Who was the big winner?” 


Big Dreams, Bigger Problems

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Mega Millions

When multi-state lottery prizes rise to tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars, all ticket holders aspire to win.  Until the winner is announced, you ride a wave of hope, fantasizing about attaining the status of millionaire.  Don’t you?  The wheels in your brain keep spinning as you envision the fancy new car or dream home you might buy, or how you might establish your own business or perhaps take a vacation in an exotic land.   While you daydream of all these exciting potentialities, do you consider the major problems that you might encounter as one of the nouveau riche?

 

The media is chock-a-block with scandals of Hollywood stars that must assume they are invincible because of their money.  Their ranks swell with those caught shoplifting things they can easily afford, cracking up cars, doing drugs, abusing alcohol, and beating up innocent hotel clerks with telephones.   Since you’ve never graced the silver screen, you might assume you are protected against “the root of all evil.”  Think again.  Are you prepared for the media to hound you?  And how safe are your children?  Plenty of unscrupulous and twisted people would have no qualms about kidnapping your children for a hefty ransom.

 

Consider all the people who would crawl out of the woodwork looking for a handout: charities you have previously supported with small donations or relatives you barely know looking for handouts. When money is involved, there is no shortage of people wanting to grab some.  The latter group will spin sob stories, playing on the fact that you are related to them to work all the angles.  Then, of course, there are those who would bring a wrongful lawsuit against you in the form of harassment charges or even a staged accident.

 

Getting a piece of your pie can be quite simple for a poser, if you deign to serve up that slice.  Financial investment specialists, for instance, can talk you into sinking your funds into, well, sinking funds. Or they could tie up your assets so that you have no access to them.  Greed is always a powerful motivator for the creativity of the crafty.

 

Even if you manage to navigate unscathed through this landscape of ne’er do wells, you can trip on a land mine of your own making. You might think that money will not change who you are, but is that really true?  If you are planning to live on your winnings, you will have to formulate a game plan that will sustain you in the long-term.  This is especially true if you are contemplating quitting your current job to live “the good life.”

 

You will need a good tax attorney and a financial planner.  You’ll have to plan how to spend your money over a long period of time instead of blowing the whole wad, spur of the moment.  As the old saying goes, “Sleep on it for awhile.”  Resist the temptation to do a lot of impulse spending.  I realize that you may want to celebrate by throwing a big party and inviting all of your friends and family.  However, it is much more financially sound to keep things on a much lower key level. You can’t be flying everyone to some island for a week. 

 

So before you go out to get your golden ticket for the millions of dollars, you should probably create a journal about how you might wish to change your life, should you hit the jackpot. Make it your dream book.  If you do win, it will help keep you grounded.

 

Likewise, your newfound wealth will attract many people who want to be your friends.  Again, don’t forget your old friends, those who have stood by you through thick and thin.  Regardless of your financial status, you will need people you can trust in your life and who better to fulfill that role than those “who knew you when.”

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