Yet another Internet lottery site, which entered the record book on December 27, 2000 by giving away $1 billion to whomever selected the correct seven numbers from a field of 77. The odds of doing this correctly are 2.4 billion to 1. Note that they do not have any information posted as to who, if anyone, won this jackpot as of May 29, 2001.
So what would you do with a billion dollars? Well, if you were the lucky winner, you wouldn't know just yet. The way the payment is structured is a forty-year annuity, with payments of only a few million dollars every year. In the final year, you'd get a balloon payment of over $600 million. The underwriters of the contest, a division of Berkshire Hathaway, would make a killing on all that bank interest and general bonus from all the inflation during that time.
That said, what the hell are you supposed to do with a check for over $600 million? Bank accounts are only insured for $100,000, most securities accounts are only insured for about $10 million, and you certainly can't buy a sizeable nation with such little money. Trying to buy a chunk of a publicly-traded company would subject you to miles of red tape with the SEC. Besides, where are you supposed to cash these checks? The check-cashing store?
Just imagine the look you'd get from your accountant in April 2041 as you go over your tax forms...
Update 2/13/03: At some point during the dot-com crash, Grab.com stopped giving away its huge prize. They now have lame prizes like "a five-year supply of your favorite ice cream" and "an MP3 player."