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Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:48 PM

Interesting recent announcement from the Powerball people, that reflects on bond yields....

Last edited Mon Apr 13, 2020, 05:29 PM - Edit history (1)

and the slowdown of ticket sales.

I understand that the Powerball Lottery isn't exactly an investment vehicle (!) but the fact that this story has direct ties to the Treasury Bond market is what I feel makes it relevant. If anyone has a valid argument why this is not subject matter relevant for this group, or takes issue with this being posted here, let me know and I'll delete it. - AHIA


It's been several years now, but they made a change a while back where the jackpot would start at $40 million, and each subsequent rollover would be minimum of $10 mil. This was done when the odds changed rather dramatically. They added one digit to the Powerballs themselves or expanded the field of 5 numbers to pick from - I can't recall which. When they did that it increased the odds of winning from something like 175 million to one to over 220 mil to 1, and as a result the jackpots reached levels never before seen. Remember the jackpot of over a billion a couple years ago?


Anyway......


Here's their latest press release;

https://www.powerball.com/notice

April 2, 2020

Update: Game sales and interest rates to determine advertised Powerball jackpot

Guaranteed starting jackpot amounts & minimum jackpot increases to be eliminated

The Powerball Product Group today announced its decision to determine Powerball’s advertised jackpot based on game sales and interest rates. Following the April 8 drawing, guaranteed starting jackpot amounts and minimum jackpot increases will be eliminated, and future jackpot increases will be determined and announced by the Product Group prior to each drawing. Previously, Powerball® jackpots started at $40 million (annuity) and increased by a minimum of $10 million (annuity) between drawings.

“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes,” said Gregg Mineo, Powerball Product Group Chairman and Maine Lottery Director. “Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries.”

The Powerball Product Group announced plans last week to reduce the starting jackpot to $20 million (annuity) and minimum jackpot increases to $2 million (annuity) between drawings. Those changes were scheduled to go into effect after the current jackpot was won. However, due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Powerball Product Group revisited the topic and decided Powerball’s advertised jackpot should be determined by game sales and interest rates effective following the drawing next Wednesday.

“Since last week, more states and cities have asked their residents to stay at home, which has affected normal consumer behaviors and Powerball game sales,” said Mineo. “In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”

The advertised Powerball jackpot for Saturday’s drawing is a guaranteed $180 million. If the jackpot rolls, it will grow to a guaranteed $190 million for the April 8 drawing. If the jackpot is won on Saturday night, it will reset to a guaranteed $20 million for the April 8 drawing and continue to grow based off sales and interest rates.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are broadcast live every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee. More than half of all proceeds from the sale of a Powerball ticket remain in the jurisdiction where the ticket was sold.


So basically they are concerned about liquidity. If you read through their website, you can find what they require of the annuity they buy to pay out the total Jackpot. The jackpot is ALWAYS noted as "Estimated" because they can not go out and buy the annuity until all the ticket purchases for a winning draw have settled. At that point they put up the cash they have on hand for a bidding process, and the various interested parties - typically insurance companies who offer Annuity products - bid for the opportunity to underwrite the annuity. Once that is done they can say specifically what the actual payout is. If the person holding a winning ticket chooses to take the cash option (and most do) then they simply receive the amount of money that has resulted from the sale of tickets up to that point, minus the operating expenses, etc. and of course, minus taxes.

The annuity that is purchased on behalf of the winner has a specific type and name, that being a "Fixed, Period Certain Annuity with annual payments, a 4% annual step-up and a return of principle provision".

Meaning;

The principle balance is fixed, not variable, meaning they don't invest in securities that can rise in value like stocks. It is strictly made up of bonds and similar fixed income securities that have specific maturity dates.
It is a "Period Certain" type, and that period is 30 years (Or 29, depending on how you look at it)
Powerball has (or had) a requirement that the annuity company must structure the annuities to increase the payout by 4% every year, as a hedge against inflation.
The return of principle provision means that at the end of the last payment, the balance is zero. All the principle has been returned to the holder.

They specify that the underlying securities must be US Treasuries and other Government backed bonds.

Back in 2006 when the 30 year Treas had a 5% coupon, the "Cash Option" figure was ALWAYS less than 50% of the "Estimated Jackpot", often by a substantial amount, depending on the yields of the various Treasury bonds.

The reason is kind of simple, really. A 30 year bond that has a 3.33% coupon, will pay about $1000 in interest payments over the lifetime of the security. If the coupon rate and the yield is higher, they don't need to buy as many to satisfy a given income stream, so the cash option amount falls below 50% of the jackpot. When that same security is yielding below 3.33%, the cash option has been higher than 50% of the jackpot. If you go to their website right now, you'll see the jackpot is $22 mil, and the cash option is $17.7, obviously WAY more than 50%

Right now bond yields are so low, that because of the dramatic drop off in people simply going to the convenience store and buying a lottery ticket, they can not guarantee the large jackpots contingent solely on bond yields. They have to make sure ticket sales are there as well.

It boils down to a math equation that prior to this point, they have never had to worry about.

Just thought some of you might find this interesting.

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Reply Interesting recent announcement from the Powerball people, that reflects on bond yields.... (Original post)
A HERETIC I AM Apr 2020 OP
DEbluedude Apr 2020 #1
Shermann Apr 2020 #2
A HERETIC I AM Apr 2020 #4
ret5hd Apr 2020 #3
A HERETIC I AM Apr 2020 #5
safeinOhio Apr 2020 #6
A HERETIC I AM Apr 2020 #7
FoxNewsSucks Apr 2020 #8
PoindexterOglethorpe Apr 2020 #9
Post removed Jun 2020 #10
Celerity Jun 2020 #11

Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:57 PM

1. I found it very interesting.

Thanks.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:57 PM

2. I don't even understand why they have the annuity option

Nobody takes it, it makes zero financial sense except for maybe protecting you from yourself.

It's not a matter of getting more if you wait longer, it's designed to be a push in terms of value. If you won $10 million, would you want to invest 100% of it in an annuity? Don't you have enough to build a balanced portfolio?

It's also false advertising. How would you like it if we made a $20 bet, you won, and I paid you one dollar per year for the next 20 years. It's in the fine print, I get it.

Just cut the nonsense and make it lump sum only.

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Response to Shermann (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 05:16 PM

4. I think it is done specifically to make the jackpot look huge.

And I agree it is pretty deceptive. I also agree that if you take the cash and invested the majority of it over the course of 30 years, your returns would very likely beat the crap out of the stated jackpot. Again, bear in mind that Powerball REQUIRES a very conservative, bond based annuity to make its jackpot predictions.

A good rule of thumb has always been that after taxes, you would take home about 1/3 of the stated jackpot if you take the cash.

That pretty much has held true for years, until now. With bond yields so low, it is closer to 50%


The stated cash option ($22 million) minus the top marginal rate of 37%;
17.7 X .63 = 11.151

So winning this upcoming drawing would pay $11.151 mil (Give or take a bit) after federal taxes but before any applicable state income taxes, so right at fifty percent of the stated $22 mil jackpot.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:57 PM

3. So, you're saying my lottery ticket is a good investment now?

Finally!!!

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 05:17 PM

5. LOL!!!

N O !!!

Not saying that at all!

However, the Mega Millions........




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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 05:52 PM

6. Here is a smart player.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jerry-and-marge-selbee-how-a-retired-couple-won-millions-using-a-lottery-loophole-60-minutes/

How a retired couple found lottery odds in their favor
It was completely legal and it won them millions. Jon Wertheim reports on how Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge used "basic arithmetic" to crack the code on certain lottery games

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 06:15 PM

7. Love this!!

Smart guy! Good for him and his cohorts.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 11:21 PM

8. Very interesting.

Thanks for posting it

Seems like a few mathematicians can figure out the lottery... even scratch tickets

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas/2010/07/14/4-time-texas-lottery-winner-rich-with-money-mystery/

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2020, 02:53 AM

9. I wonder if suddenly far fewer people are buying lottery tickets these days.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)


Response to Post removed (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 12, 2020, 06:03 AM

11. go away spammer

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