Scratching the surface of local lottery luck
With the Powerball jackpot rising to $157 million for tonight’s drawing, we offer this story, much like the lottery itself, for entertainment purposes only.
It’s not an aid for your retirement planning, and, unlike in most professions and sports, past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes.
But for fun: Did you know Garfield County is home, by a big margin, to the store that in the last 10 years has sold lottery tickets that paid out more than at any other retailer in Colorado? That only makes sense, because far and away the state’s largest-ever jackpot came from the $90 million Powerball ticket sold in August 2014 at Rifle’s Kum & Go on East 26th Street.
The store that has sold tickets worth the next most is a King Soopers in the Denver suburb of Parker. From Jan. 1, 2006, through the end of 2015, that store sold tickets that led to prizes of $11,303,899, driven by a Colorado Lotto prize worth $11,159,059.
The Rifle Powerball prize, claimed by longtime local resident Al George, accounts for 13.5 percent of $664,689,456 in lottery prizes awarded in the state since the end of 2005 that were large enough to be reported on the Colorado Lottery website. Moreover, it accounts for 95 percent of the $94,923,604 won by Garfield County and Basalt residents reported in the last 10 years.
The Post Independent analyzed prize data available at Coloradolottery.com to determine how much money county residents have won playing lottery games and where they bought their tickets. (See box for details about the data.)
Here’s a look at winnings in the last 10 years among people listing Garfield County or Basalt addresses — excluding George’s Powerball haul.
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Graphic by Jon Scharfencamp
Check out this interactive map to see where people in our region bought tickets worth the most money:
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By year, factoring out the $90 million prize, a $1 million scratch ticket sold in New Castle and a few other big wins propelled 2009 to the top spot, with reportable winning tickets claimed by county and Basalt residents nudging just beyond $1.6 million. Last year was No. 2, with $800,000 claimed.
What does it all mean?
The probability of winning is the same no matter where you buy your ticket. And of course it’s not surprising that higher volume stores such as City Markets or Kum & Gos would sell more winning tickets.
Nonetheless, if you’re the superstitious type, those stores across the street from each other on Taughenbaugh in Rifle and then the New Castle City Market and the Kum & Go just across Castle Valley Boulevard (which ranked 12th among local retailers) have been hot spots compared with other locations.
ABOUT THE ANALYSIS
The PI downloaded and analyzed reports about lottery winners from Coloradolottery.com. The website provides information on prizes only since 2006; the lottery started in Colorado in 1983. The site doesn’t include small prizes — the smallest winnings reported are $660 Cash 3 prizes. The locations where winning tickets were sold is not reported in many instances, more commonly in listings from a few years ago. The website includes winners from Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto, Cash 5, Pick 3 and scratch games. Amounts referenced are pretax prizes.
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Basalt town government officials learned from Waste Management that it will require a $120,000 subsidy to keep a recycling drop-off site in Willits operating in 2020. That’s double the subsidy of last year. It reflects the depressed market for recycled materials.