“If I had a billion dollars…” $1.5 billion Powerball draw tonight!

Well, the big story of today is not the LA Rams, and not President Obama’s final State of the Union, and not even Rand Paul complaining about being kicked off of the main GOP debate stage tomorrow night. 

No, it’s Powerball and its $1.5 billion prize jackpot, which is just an absolutely ridiculous amount of money. Tickets are being sold in 44 states plus DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

But there is not a residency requirement and so even non-residents can line up and buy a ticket in Powerball states. I always get a kick out of watching the Las Vegas TV news whenever there is a big Powerball jackpot at stake, because these news operations always go across the border to California to show all the huge lineups of Nevada residents buying Powerball tickets at the Primm Valley Lotto Store — because of course there is no Powerball in Nevada. I wonder how big the lineups are in these towns across the Canada-US border, where a lot of Canadians are said to be buying tickets. I understand Plentywood, Montana is overrun with Saskatchewan lottery customers today.

I also notice lots of people have been loudly complaining on social media about the size of the jackpot and are saying this is money going to waste and how it really ought to go towards education or saving Planet Earth or some other worthwhile cause. But the whole point of a lottery is so states can fund worthwhile programs from ticket sales anyway! In fact, these programs are now going to get even more money than they usually get, because so many people are playing Powerball. Also, the winner will have a nine-figure tax bill on the winnings, which should go to all kinds of government programs.

Anyway, the big draw goes tonight at 11 pm ET. And what happens if no one wins the big jackpot? We do it all over again on Saturday for even more money. How good is that!? 

Update: here is a list of TV stations where you can watch the Powerball draw live.

Another update: and the word is there are Powerball WINNERS in California, Florida and Tennessee!!