What do you think of the lottery?
It was a big day for the lottery in the US on Saturday when the first-ever “Big Ball of Cash” drew more than $12.8 billion in ticket sales, putting it on track to become the largest lottery ever.
But, as with any big day in the lottery, there were plenty of caveats.
The $9 billion sale of $5.9 billion of lottery tickets sold in two days, the largest ever, did not result in the largest ticket sales in the country.
Instead, it was the second largest lottery sale in US history.
And, for the first time, there was a $6 billion price tag on the jackpot, a figure which could prove to be problematic for the company that controls it.
On Friday, the lottery issued its quarterly financial results.
The latest, due to be released on Tuesday, showed sales of $6.2 billion.
That was an increase of 4.1 per cent from the previous quarter and the highest since the company started keeping track in the 1980s.
But that was hardly a shock given the previous sales record.
The lottery had just sold a record $13.2bn worth of tickets in 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That record has come with some caveats.
The first was the amount of tickets sold: The company sold a little over $10 billion worth of lottery ticket sales last year, but it did so at a time when many other big ticket items had fallen off the market.
For instance, the $7.8bn in tickets sold by the Big Ball of Biz last year was a tiny fraction of the $18.2 trillion in ticket transactions the company sold in 2016.
So while the sales of lottery sales in 2018 will be bigger than the $8.5 billion in sales from last year for the US, the total number of tickets the company sells in 2018 may not be as big a percentage of the total as it was in 2017.
And that’s likely to have an impact on ticket prices in the years to come.
“This is an issue for us in that we want to sell the best value for our customers, but we’re also trying to sell tickets at prices that are fair to consumers,” said Todd Zellner, the head of ticket sales for the California Lottery.
The second caveat was that the sales price was inflated by a lot of money, as the company did not include sales tax on some of the tickets it sold.
The state of Nevada has a sales tax of 12.5 per cent, while California does not.
The third was that in 2017 the company had some serious problems in selling tickets that were too valuable to resell.
A lot of people bought tickets at inflated prices, and they had to pay more in taxes.
In some cases, the company also lost money.
In one instance, it had to sell thousands of tickets at $1 each because of a price increase, and the company lost a lot.
“The company’s share price was down significantly in recent weeks and is expected to decline further,” Mr Zellson said.
He added that he believed the lottery could be doing much better in 2018, as there was already a better overall product.
“I think we’re looking forward to seeing if the company can keep the momentum going in 2018 and beyond,” he said.
“We have confidence in our ability to do that.”