BREAKING: There is no $640 Mega Millions lottery jackpot
This is old news, yet apparently is bears repeating. The number that the lottery people promote is not actually the real number! There is no $640 million jackpot. So, like, media outlets shouldn't be repeating it, since it's not true.
The $640 million number, as always, is the amount that would be paid out over many years into the future. So, less value than that money today. The amount that is offered for an immediate lump sum payment in this case is $462 million.
In what other situation do media outlets report a future value as if it's a present value? That's right, they don't. Because they are different. You might as well say the lottery payout is a billion dollars. It's just as meaningless.