Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In February 2015 in North Carolina, a 26-year-old mother of four children was one of three winners of a huge Powerball jackpot - totaling $564 million dollars. The chances of that happening were one in 175 Million. So how does the lottery work? And what should you do if you win? Well, in America, only 44 states have lotteries, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The other US states exclude themselves for various reasons, like religious objections or, in Nevada's case, the fact that they already have other gambling agencies. Lotteries are mostly government-run, and state officials use part of the proceeds towards funding things like education. Across the country, lottery sales totalled 70 billion dollars for the year 2014. So what happens if you actually win big in the lottery? After signing your ticket, make sure to get a photo and video of yourself with it. Then, usually there is a number you can call to identify yourself as the winner. However, you don't have to come in to claim the prize just yet. Depending on the lottery and the state you're in, sometimes you have up to a year to claim the prize. In fact, financial advisors usually recommend that you wait. Before you claim the prize, you need to have a few things figured out. Do you want the annuity prize or the cash lump sum? What are you going to say to the press? Do you want to remain anonymous, and is it even possible in your state? Find a lawyer or a certified financial planner - or both, and possibly a press agent to help you figure out the details. If you win the lottery, you can be offered the annuity prize or the “cash” prize. The annuity is listed at a higher face value, because it's invested in safe bonds, and the prize money is released to you over time. However, most people take the cash lump sum amount. On paper, it seems drastically lower than the annuity prize, but most people think they can invest the money themselves and make a higher overall profit. Usually, taxes hit lotto-winners hard. The IRS alone can take away up to 40% of the prize money. Then, you can face an additional state tax. Mega Millions reports that only about half a dozen states don't tax lottery winnings. If you live in New York City, you may be paying one of the highest state taxes on lotto winnings at around 13%. In 2012, the odds were lowered for the major state lotteries, and jackpots have been climbing to astronomical levels. The largest jackpot ever won in US history was in 2012, at $656 million dollars. But before you start buying tons of lottery tickets -- just remember that the odds of getting struck by lightning are much, much higher.. America has a rich history of people hunting for treasure in one way or another. On our brand new show Seeker, I tell the story of how one of the greatest treasure hunters of all time got a lot more than he was expecting, and his life took a nasty turn. / / This new show is just getting started, so please click here to subscribe, and you'll be the first to hear every single new story. Thanks!