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Powerball fever: 6 things you need to know if you win

More than half a million dollars will be in the Powerball jackpot when the numbers are drawn again on Saturday. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

And the winning numbers are .

Wouldn’t we all like to know what the winning numbers are? Since that won’t happen you will just have to take your chances like the millions of other people who are now lining up at gas stations and grocery stories to buy their tickets for the next drawing of what will be a record payout for Powerball.

If the winning numbers are pulled and you just happen to be the big winner, here are some cool facts and figures taken from the Multi-State Lottery Association website that will interest you and help you understand better how the money will get into your pocket:

What was the biggest prize in history?
Before this Powerball, on March 30, 2012, Mega Millions made history with the largest jackpot ever: $656 million. The jackpot was split three ways, by winning tickets in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

Powerball fever: We want to hear details about your office pool

What will happen if you win a big prize?
Winners of large prizes must bring the winning ticket to lottery headquarters — the amount at which you must show up in person varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The ticket will be examined by lottery security staff for authentication. The lottery usually gives some advice on seeking financial and legal advice along with some practical advice like getting an unlisted phone number. All but a very few states and provinces have laws that require the lottery to make public the name and city of every winner (to assure the public that there are real winners). The lottery will ask the winner to participate in a press conference. Most take that option. It really is a good idea to get it over with since the press is likely to pursue your story until they get some questions answered. Questions are usually along the lines of “will you quit your job?” or “what will you do with the money?” or “how did you tell your family you won?” After a few weeks the excitement usually dies down and you can go about your life.

Can winners remain anonymous?
Usually no. State and provincial lawmakers want the public to know that the lottery is honestly run and so require that at a minimum the name of the winner and their city of residence be made public. This way the public can be reassured that the prize really was paid out to a real person.

Some large lottery prizes pay out over a period of several years. What if the holder of this type of prize dies before collecting it all?
In this case the prize is considered to be part of the estate and is passed along to the winner’s heirs. Contrary to popular belief, the prize does not revert to the government. The only exceptions are “win for life” games where a prize is guaranteed for the rest of the winner’s life. In this case the payments stop with the winner’s death.

How long do I have to claim my prize?
The time to claim a prize varies from place to place, but typically is between six months and one year.

What happens to prizes that aren’t claimed?
The disposition of unclaimed prizes varies from lottery to lottery and is governed by the laws of that state or province. In some cases all unclaimed prizes reenter the prize pool and increase the payout on future games. In other cases the money goes to the government to benefit the causes the lottery supports.

What was the biggest prize in history? On March 30, 2012, Mega Millions made history with the largest jackpot ever: $656 million. The jackpot was split three ways, by winning tickets in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

How Powerball Fever Can Hurt Your Online Marketing

As the Powerball Prize Pool soars to new heights, jackpot fever is sweeping the nation. From long lines at the gas station to elaborate day-dreaming on how people would spend the newfound fortune, Powerball-mania has certainly gone viral. This hysteria is causing people and businesses alike to take part in some strange and unexplainable behavior.

Browsing through a Facebook newsfeed today, you will likely come across several photos of Powerball tickets with signed letters promising a cut of the winnings to anyone that likes and/or shares the pictures. Here are a few reasons that businesses should think twice about using Powerball fever to promote their social pages.

1. Off-Brand Messaging

Most of the businesses who are utilizing this approach have no connection to the lottery, gambling, or even money-management. The best examples of powerful social media marketing are brands who stay in their lane. When considering the parts of a successful social media campaign, it is crucial to share experience within your area of expertise.

When brands acquire followers from campaigns such as the Powerball initiative, it is unlikely that these newly acquired fans will convert to be customers. Facebook targeting allows brands to focus on behaviors and interests of those who are likely to be in their audience. These types of campaigns are much superior to gaining and retaining followers who can become buyers.

2. Impossible Follow-Through

What will the business do in the unlikely event that they do take home the Powerball prize? The business owner is faced with two options: make good on the promise or take the money and run.

Let’s first assume that business decides to share the fortune with those who have done as they suggested. While they would be “doing the right thing”, the logistics of accounting for and distributing winnings will surely be a nightmare. Perhaps so much so that this isn’t even a realistic option.

This, unfortunately, would then lead to the second option – not being able to make good on their promise. This option would certainly bring a different type of press. Beyond the karmic implications, a negative backlash in the media is sure to follow if the business fails to make good on their promise. While the business owner, empowered with their newfound wealth may have little accountability, the business and employees of the company would certainly suffer from such a backlash. Thinking this through, there really is no “win” to be found, so why pursue this?

…and this flows into our last point.

3. Shameless Plug

What is the “win” from engaging in this sort of online marketing? Business should strive to maintain a public appearance of transparency and respect. When a business uses a statistically impossible lottery jackpot as a method to gain followers, it comes across as cheap and shady.

Here’s the “formula” for engaging your audience in online marketing. Avoid the so-called shortcuts. There are ways to leverage current events to win favor with your audience and these are strongly encouraged. Find trends that are close to your area of expertise and weigh in, providing useful tips and tricks. Audiences will appreciate your honesty and you have the potential to create a legion of loyal followers. Lay aside the hokey tricks and represent your brand with pride. As we conclude, we might consider the parallels from the popular saying, “don’t let your mouth write a check that your body can’t cash.”

Browsing through a Facebook newsfeed today, you're likely to come across Powerball ticket pics promising a share of the winnings