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Sunday, May 1, 2016

$500M payout entices Powerball ticket buyers

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Here's wishing," says Mark Hapstak as he points to his Powerball ticket he purchased at the BP station on Madison Avenue and the intersection of Wartrace Highway.
(T-G photo by Jim Davis)
A lot of people with crossed fingers are waiting on tonight's Powerball lottery results, and with $500 million on the line, can you blame them?

Local merchants who sell the tickets around Shelbyville say that they've been selling plenty -- mostly in the early mornings, or evenings after folks get off work.

At press time, the Powerball total was at $500 million, meaning that if you win and take it as a lump sum, you'll be getting a cash payout of $327.4 million.

But keep in mind that the odds are one in 175,223,510 of you taking home the big prize.

On the brain

At the BP station across from the Celebration grounds, clerk Stephanie Marino said that most customers just let the computer pick the random number instead of providing their own lucky sequence.

One person spent $20 on just the Powerball tickets, she said, but added that since the tickets climbed to the price of $2 for just a basic ticket without the Powerball multiplier, many people have stopped buying them.

Marino also said that trade for the scratch-off cards also goes up when the Powerball pay out is high. Some customers will spend as much as $100 to $200 on the scratch-off tickets per week, she said.

"They've got it on their brain," she said.

It was the same situation at other lottery sales outlets, with clerks saying that when the jackpot is way up, their business increases.

What if?

So what happens if you do win the big money?

For one thing, it will be wise to sign the ticket after buying it to prevent someone else from cashing it in. If you lose your ticket, anyone can claim it.

While Tennessee does not tax lottery winners, the prizes are subject to federal income taxes. If you are part of a group that bought multiple tickets, the prizes may be shared, but it will be up to the winners.

If you played an instant game, you will have 90 days to claim the prize, but those playing the numbers have up to 180 days after the drawing to claim their cash.

While you might want to keep it a secret if you do win the big payout, Tennessee state law requires that the name, home state, and home town of winners would be disclosed if requested.

Also keep in mind that the merchant you buy your ticket from will get a portion as well if you win. If you pass away while taking annual payments, you can pass any remaining annuity payments to your heirs.

The first family to win the Powerball in Tennessee were Bobbie and Richie Hubbard of South Pittsburg, winning a Powerball payout of $25.1 million.

City pipe dream

The "what if" question was also posed to city manager Jay Johnson, who said that a municipality could not legally buy a lottery ticket.

But what if some gracious soul chose to donate some or all of their mega-winning to Shelbyville? What could be done with that kind of money?

"I could think of several things, but the council would have to make that decision," Johnson said.

One option some towns have done when coming into a large amount of money, such as from the sale of a hospital, is to set up a community foundation.

Johnson explained that the interest earnings alone could be used to finance a number of projects over a longer period of time. Things like parks and recreation needs, enhancements to the public square are just some of the ideas that came to Johnson's mind, if only "in a pipe dream."

"There's all kind of things you could do, but if a city had a windfall like that, I'd step back and really evaluate what would give the longest term impact, what would benefit the most people," Johnson said. "With $100 million, you could do a whole lot."

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