Military Members & Winning Powerball: 3 Things to Know

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  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
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You might be wondering if there’s any truth to the urban legend about military members who play Powerball and win. Learn more about winning big and being in the service.

There’s nothing more exciting than winning a Powerball cash prize. Just the notion of getting lucky with a $50,000 win, a $1 million win, or even a multi-million-dollar jackpot inspires thousands of people to play. But if you’re in the military, you might have some apprehension about playing Powerball. And you’ve likely heard the rumors and tales about the consequences of winning. In fact, one urban legend circulating out there says you’ll get the boot from your service if you become a lottery winner of any kind. So, is there any truth to these stories? And if you’re in the military, does it mean you can’t play Powerball? Let’s dispel the myths and shed light on this urban legend.

1. Straight Facts: Anyone Can Play and Win Powerball

So can you get kicked out of military service if you win Powerball? No. Not even close. There is nothing within the contractual agreements for any branch of military service that prohibits military service members from playing Powerball or winning any prize amounts. If you've heard these myths and rumors in the past, just know there's no stock in their validity.

Anyone can play Powerball, so long as they’re of legal age and purchasing tickets from an authorized Powerball retailer. Some states have additional requirements for legal gameplay, so check with your state’s Powerball office to learn more. But if you’re in the military, don’t sweat it. There’s no truth to the urban legend that says you’ll be removed from your branch of service if you win.

2. Military Contracts: You Can Still Be a Powerball Winner

When you sign up for any branch of service, you’ll sign an enlistment contract. And nothing in any of those agreements indicates that you will face any consequences should you come into any large sum of cash. However, your contract does have a stipulation that allows service members to voluntarily leave their duties with a discharge under “unique circumstances.”

In the Navy, for example, you could leverage the clause under the “Separation by Reason of Best Interest of the Service” if you win a massive jackpot. In the Air Force, there are several provisions for stepping down early, including the “Best Interest of the Air Force” clause. And if you’re in the Army, there’s an “unusual situations” clause that would allow you to voluntarily leave the military because of a Powerball jackpot windfall.

3. Examples of Service Members Winning Big

There have been plenty of examples of military service members who’ve won Powerball prizes. In 2016, for example, a Coast Guard officer won a $1 million Powerball prize. Andrew Norberg was a Lieutenant then and was stationed at the Coast Guard Academy. He used his Powerball windfall to buy a house for himself and his then-fiance. Two years later, it was reported he became the commander.

A soldier stationed at Fort Bragg won $2 million dollars in 2016, too. And in the following year, another military service member won $5 million on a scratch-off ticket. In the case of the former, the soldier stayed on with her military service until her retirement. In the case of the latter, the soldier elected to get out of the military altogether with his newfound financial freedom.

If you’re in the military, regardless of the branch of service, first and foremost, thank you. And secondly, don’t hesitate to try your hand at playing Powerball. Put those urban legends to rest about getting kicked out - you can still play and win without repercussions. And whether you're serving in the armed forces or not, winning a million or more in cash is going to be a welcomed windfall!

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