A whim turned into a win for one Oregon Lottery player. 82-year-old Brooks Keebey matched for a $1 million Powerball prize in a historic drawing — and he doesn’t mind that it wasn’t the billions it might have been.
Back in early November, hopeful people across the US had been feverishly scooping up Powerball tickets for the world-record-setting $2.4 billion drawing on Nov. 7.
The retired Oregon truck driver was happy with his eventual million-dollar win, even though only the unmatched Powerball number stood between him and those billions. Asked if he felt disappointment at not winning the mind-blowing jackpot, Keebey said, “I’m not greedy.”
Winner purchased $10 worth of Powerball tickets on a “whim”
Acting on a drawing-day impulse, Keebey had purchased $10 worth of Powerball tickets at the TNT Hollywood Tavern in Salem, where he and his wife reside.
The delayed drawing on the night of Nov. 7 just increased the suspense for people holding tickets. After the drawing finally took place the morning of Nov. 8, Keebey scanned his tickets at a different local store.
The terminal instructed him to see customer service. It turned out he’d matched the first five numbers, only failing to match the Powerball.
After state and federal taxes of 8% and 24%, respectively, were taken out, he took home about $680,000, according to the Oregon Lottery. And his plans for his prize money seem as modest as his words about his win: a used Cadillac for his wife, paying property taxes, and using the money for the rest of his retirement.
Oregon even had another $1 million Powerball winner from the drawing. That new millionaire hasn’t claimed their prize yet.
Oregon Lottery sold almost $33 million in Powerball tickets
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the jackpot runup from Aug. 3 to the record $2.4 billion prize created a Powerball ticket stampede across the country. Some people who live in one of the five states where no lottery exists drove to other states to get them.
Here in Oregon, the Lottery sold almost $33 million in tickets during that time. State retailers who sold those tickets collectively received more than $2.6 million in commissions. Plus, per usual, sellers saw bonuses from lower-tier wins.
Jackpocket, the country’s leading third-party app that acts as a lottery courier service, recently announced it saw “record participation” in the runup, too. Altogether, its users won over $14 million in Powerball prizes during that time.
Increased odds against winning create giant Powerball jackpots
If it seems to you that Powerball jackpots have been getting bigger, like the $2.4 billion won by a Southern Californian in the drawing that also netted Keebey his $1 million prize, you’re right.
At the same time, the odds against winning them have also increased — by design, it seems. In 2015, the lottery added more number combinations. That changed the odds from 1 in 175 million to the current 1 in 292.2 million, as economics professor Victor Matheson told CNBC.
And making jackpots harder to win increases the jackpots themselves, since they roll over from one drawing to the next if no one matches all the numbers.
Advice from the Oregon Lottery
The Oregon Lottery has some advice for its players to protect any jackpot wins:
- Sign the back of your ticket
- Consult with a trusted financial planner or another professional
And, of course, you can’t win if you don’t check your ticket! And in Oregon, you must claim a prize before a year passes.
According to its website, the Oregon Lottery started selling tickets on Apr. 25, 1985. Since then, it has earned almost $15 billion. About a third of its sales revenue goes to beneficiaries including:
- Economic development
- Public Education
- State parks
- Veterans’ services
- Watershed enhancements
The largest Powerball prize ever won in Oregon to date was worth $340 million. That big win happened in 2005.