You know the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are insanely low. You know that even if you did win, you’d make some impulsive purchases, but (probably) wouldn’t go on an insane spending spree. But it sure can be fun to dream sometimes.
The jackpot for the Mega Millions drawing, set to take place Friday, Oct. 19 at 11 p.m., is currently estimated at $970 million. It may well go up as frenzied dreamers rush to buy tickets. And if you hold the winning Mega Millions ticket when all is said and done, you can buy pretty much whatever you want. But where do you start?
Generous souls will give some of their jackpot winnings to charity or start one of their own, but if you’ve got a quirky sense of humor, it’s worth pointing out that the $970 million Mega Millions jackpot is enough to pay for a McDonald’s Happy Meal (hamburger, not Chicken McNuggets) for every person in America.
The Mega Millions lottery winner, though, won’t pocket $970 million. The government will want its share and it’ll be hard to resist that $548 million cash option.
Let’s assume you take that—and pay the government its 25% stake and another 5% for your state taxes. That’s just over $380 million in cash that you’re free and clear to spend. Here are a few things you could conceivably buy:
Your own beast: Ever want to ride like the president? The secret service rolled out a new presidential limousine this year with all sorts of James Bond-like features, including eight-inch thick exterior armor plating and the ability to fire tear gas or a smokescreen. The price on the custom-made Cadillac is reportedly $1.5 million.
Get in the game: The Carolina Panthers sold for a whopping $2.2 billion, so a professional team is probably beyond your grasp. But minor league franchises are much more affordable (and tend to generate incredible loyalty). A Class AA team typically runs from $16 million to $25 million, with AAA teams going for $30 million and more. The Sacramento River Cats, last year, were valued at $49 million.
A private island: Unfortunately, due to the tax bite, you won’t be able to grab Al Marjan Island in the United Arab Emirates. That one’s asking $462 million, and even the best negotiator will have trouble bringing it down that much. Rangyai Island, near Phuket, Thailand, is available for $160 million, though. For that you’ll get a 110-acre land mass with fresh water, an electric generator and, most importantly, mobile service.
A California vacation home: Need to get away from your every day life, Mega Millions winner? The Beverly House, a 19-bedroom, 25-bath house that William Randolph Hearst once called home and where John F. Kennedy honeymooned, is on the market. Asking price for the Beverly Hills residence is $135 million. (Sorry, TV fans, the house that was featured as the setting for The Beverly Hillbillies is no longer on the market.)
Jewelry: A nice bracelet or brooch is nice, but if you’ve got that kind of money, you could try to buy the Hope Diamond, which is reportedly insured for $250 million. Of course, the diamond is on display at the Smithsonian, which is unlikely to part with it. It’s also believed by some to be cursed, so maybe give this one a little thought first.
All the pizza. All of it: Pizza prices vary from city to city and state to state, but Eater looked at the national average of a Margherita pizza a few years ago and found the high end was $16. Using that as a base, you could afford more than 22 million pizzas with your winnings—and have $7 million left for extra toppings. (We’ll take pepperoni and sausage on ours, thanks.)