COVID is the reason lottery jackpots are so large

Powerball jackpots lately have been huge. As of this writing, the next drawing will be for approximately 1.4 billion dollars. You might be asking yourself, “Didn’t Powerball or Mega Millions get up over a billion dollars just a few weeks ago?” And the answer is yes. The observation you should make from that is that lottery jackpots rise at a much higher rate than they used to. There was a time when, if the jackpot was 50 million dollars and nobody won, the next jackpot might be 54 million dollars. Not anymore. Why? Blame COVID. COVID was the reason millions of people began working remotely from home, which many still do, if their job permits it. COVID was the reason restaurant delivery services began to thrive. And it was the reason grocery delivery services began to thrive, too. Instead of going to the store and encountering strangers, many people elected to take care of their retail chores by using the Internet. So what does that have to do with the lottery? Simple. In nine states and the District of Columbia, you can buy Powerball tickets through an app. One of those states starts with an “I”, but it’s not Idaho. The states where you can purchase lottery tickets online are Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Virginia, along with the previously-mentioned Washington, D.C. In those places, they not only sell a lot of lottery tickets, but they sell a lot more than they did when you had to go to the store and wait in a line to get them. If you use the grocery delivery services like Instacart or DoorDash, you’ll probably notice that lottery tickets aren’t listed with the available groceries. However, there is a service called Jackpocket (no kidding) that bills itself as “America’s number one lottery app”. With the Jackpocket app, you choose your game, for instance Powerball or Mega Millions, then choose your numbers or a Quick Pick. Somebody from Jackpocket then goes to the store (an official lottery retailer) for you and buys your lottery tickets. They don’t bring the tickets to your house, but they do scan them and send their images to your email. Then they put your tickets into a fireproof safe. If you win less than 600 dollars, the money goes directly into your Jackpocket account. If you win more than that, Jackpocket arranges to securely deliver your winning ticket directly to you, so you can take it to the lottery office and cash in. At this point, you might be asking yourself, “This couldn’t possibly be legal in Idaho, could it?” The answer is “apparently”. On the Jackpocket website, the Jackpocket states are listed as Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. So yes, technically, you can buy lottery tickets in Idaho using your phone or computer, because so far the legislature hasn’t said positively no. As far as whether you feel comfortable using Jackpocket as a verb, that’s entirely up to you.