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is the powerball lottery rigged

Is the Powerball rigged?

A bevy of conspiracy theories abound about the Powerball. Fueling them is the fact that it really was rigged.

What does the moon landing have to do with the Powerball? Maybe nothing. (Photo: El Paso Times photo)

Story Highlights

  • You probably won’t win the Powerball
  • But it’s OK
  • Because it may be rigged

By now, it’s probably pretty clear that you are not going to win the gazillion dollar Powerball lottery and be able to fulfill your fantasy of buying Comcast and firing every single customer service person you’ve spent hours speaking to trying to figure out why your television keeps telling you to call them.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped a lot of the media experts from taking to the airwaves to give advice on what to do if you wake up one day – say sometime this week after Wednesday night’s $1.5 billion drawing – on your way to being as rich as Donald Trump. They all offer sage recommendations on what to do with the money, mostly smart investments, or hiring a lawyer who, you pray, won’t steal half of it, or making arrangements to keep everybody who wants to glom onto your good luck at bay by moving to Costa Rica.

Nor has it stopped the media from asking people how they would spend the money should they awake to being an instant member of the 1-percent club.

Most of those have been pretty predictable. Pay off the house. Buy a house. Keep creditors at bay. A lot of people said they would keep working, although with an even more lackadaisical attitude than normal.

THE YORK DAILY RECORD

Powerball winner will still have to face the fiscal cliff

Nor has it stopped experts from telling you how to make sure you will win the fortune. Some guy who published a book on how to win the lottery went on Fox News to tell viewers to buy “every lottery ticket you can afford,” which is good advice if your cognitive skills are somewhere below that of a starfish and ignores the fact that lotteries exploit people’s economic insecurity and despair and prey upon those are who least able to afford it to blow the grocery money on Powerball tickets.

Still, after the numbers were drawn, the odds are you’d still have to go to work and you’d still owe your soul to the company store.

The reason is simple — the odds are stacked against you.

Or perhaps you’re thinking that the Powerball is rigged and that you are merely a victim of a vast conspiracy that traces its roots to the dawn of civilization. Or something like that.

Of course, you’re thinking, that couldn’t happen. There have to be a lot of safeguards.

But in this era when conspiracy theories are treated with more reverence than facts, it seems like a popular view among a lot of people, joining Obama wants to take your guns, the moon landing was faked and Stevie Wonder really isn’t blind in the pantheon of conspiracies that prevent you from living a full and interesting life.

Yes, there are Powerball truthers, people who have taken to social media to inform the world that the real reason you haven’t won the lottery has nothing to do with the steep odds, akin to being struck by lightning while being in a plane crash and surviving intact, except for that twitch you have from being struck by lightning. It’s because of dark forces conspiring against you.

One such theory — reported by the website Heavy.com — is that the government rigs the Powerball to jack up jackpots so the IRS can collect more tax money and use that money to pay off the federal debt, or perhaps, as one theory posited, fund special black-bag operations that include something like taking over abandoned Walmarts in Texas to seize the state and make Texans stop saying “Y’all.”

That theory is perfect in a number of ways. It combines the paranoia that the government has the wherewithal to rig the lottery, with the suspicion that the feds are, in essence, some of kind of evil cabal dead set on controlling your thoughts. (I believe it also has something to do with mandatory seat belt laws and grazing fees in Wyoming. I could be wrong. )

Less sinister is the theory that the government is using the Powerball to stimulate the economy, which makes sense if you really don’t think about it. It’s not clear how spending a few dollars on a lottery ticket stimulates the economy, other than providing employment for convenience store clerks.

Yet another theory claims that the Powerball is rigged by something called the Illuminati, which is a secret cabal of Masons who have run the world since man was able to stand upright, that is when they aren’t dressing up like clowns and riding around in those little cars. Or is that Shriners? They’re easy to confuse.

Feeding the theories is the fact that the lottery has been rigged.

In 1980, a guy named Nick Perry, the Pennsylvania Lottery’s announcer, masterminded a scheme to rig the Daily Number, using weighted balls in the machines used to draw the numbers. The drawing resulted in the number 6-6-6 and Perry and his cohorts — and perhaps Satan himself — cashed in. They were caught — well, Satan wasn’t — and Perry wound up doing two years in Camp Hill.

And just recently, the Powerball has been rigged.

It’s a strange and convoluted story. It began with a winning ticket worth $16.5 million being drawn in Texas in December 2010. Later that year, a man from Canada came forward to claim the prize, as did a lawyer from New York who claimed to be representing a trust in Belize.

That kind of raised suspicions and, long story short, resulted in the security director for the Powerball’s governing body, a man named Edward Tipton, being charged with fraud. Tipton, prosecutors alleged, used self-destructing software he installed on Powerball computers to create the winning ticket. Tipton was convicted on two counts of fraud in July and sentenced to a decade in prison, the Washington Post reported.

So you may not have won a dump truck full of money.

But you’re still better off than that “winner.”

A bevy of conspiracy theories abound about the Powerball. Fueling them is the fact that it really was rigged.

Of Course There Are Powerball Conspiracy Theories

When most people think about lottery conspiracy theories, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the curse that purportedly plagues the big winners. Those who take home millions supposedly face tragic circumstances and personal and professional collapse, all because they happened to pick the right numbers in a game of chance. Much has been said about the people stepping forward to claim their prizes, but still there is suspicion about the game itself. Is the Powerball rigged? The far reaches of the Internet seem to think so, and they’ve got copious conspiracy theories on the subject.

A major scandal recently rocked the Multi-State Lottery Association, resulting in jail time for a former security director who allegedly fixed an Iowa game to win the $16.5 million jackpot. Edward Tipton allegedly used his position to his advantage, installing undetectable, self-destructing software to rig the numbers in his favor. A further investigation revealed that Tipton reportedly might have done the same thing in four other states. He was found guilty of tampering with lottery equipment and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tipton denied that he had purchased the ticket.

Despite catching Tipton (and the fact that his conviction had to do with computer-generated numbers, not physical numbers on balls like the Powerball has), not everything is rosy for those playing the lotto. Due to the fact that the choice of numbers rose from 59 to 69 options, the odds of winning are now even worse. That might not matter if you buy into any of these conspiracy theories, however.

Bustle has reached out to Powerball officials for comment on the legitimacy of the game.

The Mafia Theory

Despite the name of the Illuminati Conspiracy Blog, its author does not believe the shadowy organization has a hand in controlling who wins the Powerball. They think that the mafia is rigging the Powerball, and question where past winners hail from, as well as their own supposed mob ties. Those who are designated as winners are supposedly paid in hush money up to $1 million for the mafia to claim the rest of the earnings and continue their opaque yet profitable enterprise. All the times in which nobody gets the correct number combination only show that the mafia is feeling particularly greedy, according to the blog.

Paying Off Debts

Another theory about those supposedly behind the lottery making a big profit has less to do with potential gangs and more to do with a legitimate enterprise — namely, the government. A popular theory about the Powerball is that the government is preventing a winner from stepping forward so that the prize money can balloon to a high enough amount to help the country pay off its massive debt via a special tax. Sure, the 30 percent flat tax is an impressive boon for the IRS, but it’s certainly not going to solve the nation’s $478 billion budget deficit in one fell swoop.

The Illuminati Theory

There’s not a whole lot of thought behind the Illuminati conspiracy. It states simply that either the Illuminati is controlling the Powerball, or that once you win, you’re contractually obligated to join them. No one can quite say why either way.

Stimulus Package

Going with the budget deficit theory, this one states that the Powerball frenzy is supposedly being used as a way to jump-start the economy as a whole, via to the massive amount of people forking over $2 for a single ticket. It slightly overlooks the taxes that the government will take out of the winnings, and instead focuses on the mass popularity of the game itself. The amount of tickets being purchased certainly isn’t hurting the country, it seems.

Marked From The Start

Evan Redmon doesn’t think you should even waste your time buying a Powerball ticket, because he thinks that the winners are chosen beforehand — hence the strange demographics of those who take home major prizes. It’s unclear why the lotto powers that be pick the winners that they do, but Redmon is incredibly suspicious about what he perceives as a primarily Caucasian group of winners.

It’s All An Act

This theory about the Powerball suggests that the game is more than just rigged — it’s an absolute joke, akin to the 2000 John Travolta comedy Lucky Numbers. An anonymous contributor suggests that the premise that the drawing is a live, televised event is the first indication that it might not be real, and that paid actors are hired to claim the jackpot prize when the correct sequence of numbers does in fact hit. It’s unclear where this money goes to afterward, or just why the alleged actors would be participating.

When most people think about lottery conspiracy theories, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the curse that purportedly plagues the big winners. Those who take home millions supposedly face tragic circumstances and personal and…