The United States’ Mega Millions lottery has reached $1 billion after no winning tickets were in a draw last month, but there was some good that come from it with fast food restaurant Raising Cane’s buying 50,000 tickets for employees.
While none of the employees were able to quit work following the July 26th drawing, co-founder Todd Graves is reportedly going back to the well and spending another $100,000 in lottery tickets for his workers. The odds of winning the Mega millions are roughly 1 in 303,000,000 – Odds that would never get any action if they were presented as Vegas Odds in sports.
What is the Mega Millions?
45 states participate in the Mega Millions, one of the two biggest lotteries in America along with Powerball. Contestants not only have to match five numbers (white balls 1-75) but in order to win the jackpot they also have to match the mega ball (1-15).
The July 29th Mega Millions jackpot is up to $1.02 billion, which surprisingly would only be the third highest prize in the game’s 20-year history. One player took home $1.537 billion in 2018 while a group of four split $1.05 billion in 2021.
Nobody collected on the winning numbers of 7-29-60-63-66 with a mega ball of 15 in the Tuesday, January 26th drawing, but eight tickets won $1 million for getting five numbers without the mega ball. One other person won $3 million for getting five numbers right but also paying an extra $1 for the multiplier feature which boosted their winnings 3X.
The $1.02 billion prize is only for those who take the annuity payment option, deposited in one sum up front and then annually for the next 29 years. The cash option pays one lump sum of roughly $602 million, which is of course taxed and ‘only’ worth around $360 million afterward depending on which state the winner resides.
Who Are Raising Cane’s?
Raising Cane’s is a fast food restaurant founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana specializing in chicken fingers. The restaurant first opened in 1996, and the name comes from creator Todd Graves’ dog ‘Cane’ who frequently hung around at the construction site of the initial location.
Graves is the face behind Raising Cane’s (besides yellow Labrador dogs) and the man making the rounds after news broke that he was purchasing 50,000 Mega Millions – $100,000 worth – for all his franchisee employees.
Unfortunately for Graves and his employee their first crack at the jackpot did not bring home the big win, but there was no word on if any of the workers recouped on four or five matched numbers. The good news is that Raising Cane’s management is giving their employees another chance, with co-CEO AJ Kumaran telling CNN New Day that they would be buying 50,000 more tickets for the Friday drawing.
Huge Marketing Effectiveness
Buying employees Mega Millions tickets so they get their chance at up to $1 billion is a nice gesture, but make no mistake Raising Cane’s is getting their money back in advertising by going on all the network morning shows to discuss the move.
Similar businesses have done moves like this in America, perhaps most famously “Mattress Mack” betting $9.5 million on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl – which he lost. Few people had ever heard about Jim McIngvale or his Texas based furniture store until he started making the sports radio rounds a few years ago talking about his excessive wagers – while promoting his store.
Mattress Mack may have had deals with the Caesars Sportsbook app that he placed the Super Bowl wager with (after driving over 100 miles to Louisiana where betting is legal) or he may have also placed $9.5 million on the Rams to only have to pay the vig for some highly effective marketing.
Raising Cane’s is reaping some similar marketing benefits from their employee lottery ticket promotion. This is a franchise that seems keen on how to draw eyes to their business, as evidenced by hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut attempting to eat 50 chicken fingers in five minutes at the Raising Cane’s Las Vegas location on Wednesday July 27th to honor “National Chicken Finger Day.”
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