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Mega Millions jackpot at $1.6 billion, how would Coloradans spend it?

Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 20:59:35-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – It’s the largest lottery jackpot in our nation’s history and in just a few hours we could have a winner.

As of Tuesday night, the Mega Millions jackpot sat at $1.6 billion.

Earlier in the day, plenty of Colorado Springs hopefuls were purchasing one, sometimes 10 tickets at gas stations.

While it’s good to dream big, people should be aware of the realities of buying a lottery ticket and if they become that lucky winner.

Justin Drapeau, who purchased a lottery ticket for the first time on Tuesday, said, “It’s pretty wild that it’s that high.”

Another buyer, Jean Tagliere, said, “I came here for something else and I thought what the heck? I’ll take my chances.”

For Senica A., her belief is that “faith without works is dead and my work is coming and buying a lotto ticket every time I get a chance.”

What will these people do if they win?

Drapeau said he’d like to buy a “house, vacation home, probably that would be the big ones and then make sure my daughter’s taken care of education-wise.”

Tagliere wants “a house and a dream vacation, and a really good car.”

For Senica A., she would “go to the Caribbean and hide out for awhile and then I would come back and give most of it to charity, my kids.”

These people have big dreams, but also practical ones.

Drapeau said, “I would invest most of it…you work hard for your money for the most part so you should make your money work hard for you.”

Tagliere said, “If I won I would give it to other people. I would do random good deeds throughout the city and state.”

While many are hoping to win, Financial Planner Craig Carnick says this is the reality: “Don’t forget there could be multiple winners so the people that are buying that ticket to get the $1.6 billion it’s possible because there’s only so many permutations of the numbers.”

The odds of winning are also about 1 in 300 million. If you do become that lucky winner, you have some options.

Carnick said, “The lump sum is $900 million. The annuity is $40 million a year for 30 years.”

However, Carnick says doing the latter will mean paying a tremendous amount of taxes. The annuity actually being about $24 million dollars a year after taxes.

“The lump sum is really the best option.”

In the end, most of us won’t be a mega millionaire, but at the end of the day we’re all winners as the lottery jackpot helps Great Outdoors Colorado or GOCO. If it reaches cap this year, it will receive $68.4 million in lottery proceeds to invest into protecting and enhancing Colorado’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces.

The cutoff to buy a lottery ticket is 7:30 p.m. MST. The drawing is set to happen in Atlanta Tuesday night at 9 p.m.