Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.14 27 R ob Anderson always had bad luck. During high school in Owensboro, Kentucky, he was nominated for prom king and had two classes left in a co-op program before he could graduate. Ten his family moved a few hours east to Georgetown, and he had to complete a full senior year as the new kid in town. Anderson and his wife Tuesday made seats for Camrys and Corollas in a hot factory in Georgetown. Tey paid the bills and had a little savings account, but they were more motivated by retirement than by making a seat for Toyota every 48 seconds. After almost 18 years at the factory, Anderson attended culinary school — what he thought was his ticket out — until he had a few classes left and his employer cut the tuition reimbursement. All for nothing, he thought. Anderson, now 43, says, "We're the kind of people who walk outside with an umbrella when it's not raining, and you fold up your umbrella and it starts to rain." It's Christmas Eve 2009. Anderson is on his way to Walmart to buy some stocking- stufers when he decides to stop in a Mara- thon station and purchase three $2 Powerball tickets for his wife and her parents. Te clerk goofs and prints them all on the same ticket. Anderson has $27 in his wallet and still has to stop at Walmart, but he decides to buy three more tickets. Te clerk asks if Ander- son still wants the mistake ticket. Anderson hesitates but takes it anyway. He gets home and throws the misprint on his dresser, where it hides under a pile of clothes as he unpacks from a trip to New Orleans. Te morning after Christmas, Anderson and his wife are up drinking cofee and checking the previous night's lottery drawing that they had recorded. He won! Well, he won $7 for getting three of the numbers right, earning him half his money back. Wait a minute, he thinks, where's that misprint? He goes to fnd it and sees that he got the frst two numbers and the Powerball right — another $7! Tat's his money back. Ten he notices that the rest of the numbers match. His family had played jokes on him about winning before, so he fgures this is just another cruel joke. Tey have Tuesday's dad go grab the newspaper. Te numbers match. Tey get online. Te numbers match. Holy shit. Te numbers match. Tey call the lot- tery and confrm: $128.6 million. Holy shit! "What are the odds?" he tells me four years later over the phone from a hotel in Washington, D.C., where he and his wife, the winners of Kentucky's largest Powerball jackpot, are scratching another item of their bucket list. To answer Anderson's question: Te current odds of winning the multi-state Powerball jackpot on a $2 ticket are one in 175.2 million. (Te Powerball underwent changes in 2012; the odds were one in 195.2 million when the Andersons won.) You have a better chance of getting drafted by the NBA, writing a New York Times bestseller or being born with an extra digit. T he Kentucky Lottery started 25 years ago and joined the multi-state Lotto*America in 1991. Te name changed to Powerball in '92. Since then, Kentucky retailers have sold 18 winning Powerball tickets ranging from $5 million in 1999 — the only win to come from Louisville — to Anderson's $128.6 million. As rare as it is to win the jackpot, more than 61 percent of ticket sales ($846.6 million in 2013) — including scratch-ofs and smaller- pot games — goes to winners. One dollar here, $150,000 there. Six percent goes to the retailers, commissions for selling winning tickets. (Tat clerk who sold the misprint? He was responsible for the Marathon's $88,814 haul.) Five percent goes to operat- ing costs of the Kentucky Lottery and the other 28 percent goes to the state, specifcally to college scholarships and grants, fund- ing for afordable housing and bonuses for veterans. (Tat lotto gambling habits have contributed $4 billion to the state since 1989 is not something a lot of people know. Tat's because, until now, Kentucky was the only state to prohibit the lottery from advertising these details. But by the end of August, look for commercials with college kids and army veterans thanking you for your scratch-of addiction. Or something like that.) Te Powerball starts at $40 million and gets as high as it wants to go until a winner takes the jackpot. Forty-three states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate. But winning is not as simple as jumping up and down, handing in the ticket and seeing a bunch of zeroes added to your bank account. It starts at about 11:15 p.m., when Chip Polston, Kentucky Lottery's vice president of communications, gets a call that rouses him from bed. Te Kentucky Lottery, located near 10th and Main streets across from Caufeld's costume store, has a 24-hour staf that knows shortly after the 11 p.m. drawing if a winning ticket was printed. Te lottery ofce knows where and when the ticket was sold down to the second. Tey can look at the security camera from the retailer. "Six times out of 10 we have your picture before "You can't tell anybody. You want to trust your friends, but you really can't. You try to forget about it but you can't sleep, you can't eat. You're nervous, but happy." — Powerball winner Rob Anderson

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