INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Wednesday, someone might find himself or herself a half billion dollars richer.
The next drawing in the record Powerball jackpot is set for 10:59 p.m. Wednesday. Lottery officials said the jackpot had been raised to $550 million as of just after noon Wednesday.
Wednesday morning, lottery officials were giving away free tickets, drumming up excitement for the game of chance. The first 500 players to visit the Village Pantry on Michigan Road in Zionsville got one free ticket. As of about 7 a.m., there were 200 free tickets left.
There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6. The jackpot is the highest ever for Powerball, and second-highest only to the $656 million Mega Millions prize awarded in March. Three winners hit the right numbers in that drawing.
- PHOTO GALLERY | Players line up around the country
"The purpose for the lottery is to generate revenue for the respective states and their beneficiary programs," said Norm Lingle, chairman of the Powerball Game Group. "High jackpots certainly help the lottery achieve those goals."
With the potential of a big windfall, though, comes some risk. Some mental health experts say that much money can isolate people, sending them into a world that is foreign to them. It can alter one's mindset, and that can be a detriment once the money runs out, one expert said.
"You win the lottery and spend a lot of money, what happens is, you get used to having a lot of money and spending a lot of money. So ... you actually have to spend more money to get the same level of happiness," said psychologist Alduan Tartt.
Odds of winning, though, are only one in 175 million. But with ticket sales nearing $1 billion, the chance of getting a winner in Wednesday's drawing is approaching 60 percent, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association, the group that runs the Powerball game.
For those participating in a ticket pool at work or elsewhere, Hoosier Lottery official Al Larsen had some advice.
Most important, he said, is to know the rules as to who's playing and how any winnings will be divided.
Other suggestions for those in office pools:
- Have one person collect the money and buy the tickets.
- Photocopy the tickets and distribute copies to all participants.
- Also distribute a list of all participants.
- Discuss ahead of time whether any payout will taken in yearly installments or as a lump sum.
The chances of getting hit by lightning twice are greater than winning the jackpot, but it's possible someone, somewhere could beat the odds.
Dick Bellmer with Deerfield Financial Advisors, Inc. says once you purchase your ticket sign your name on the back. Signing your name establishes ownership. After that, get professional help.
"Make sure you interview people and find people you trust that have integrity and will help you so that you don't make rash decisions," Bellmer said. "The first decision shouldn't be 'I'm gonna go buy a Ferrari.'"
Bellmer suggests assembling a team consisting of an attorney, accountant and a financial advisor to carve out a plan. The attorney will help determine if you should utilize trust, limited liability companies or corporations.
Bellmer also says splurge a little but don't go overboard.
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