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President Trump rattles the Middle East, saying the U.S. will recognize Israel’s authority over the Golan Heights. Also on our Friday rundown: A judge blocks laws limiting the power of the new Wisconsin governor. Plus, momentum builds across party lines to abolish the death penalty.

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Weighing Risk of Betting on Powerball Jackpot

Experts say it's important to understand your odds of winning the big Powerball jackpot before you gamble too much. (finance/
Experts say it's important to understand your odds of winning the big Powerball jackpot before you gamble too much. (finance/
January 13, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Today Tennesseans will be digging deep to buy their chance at the Powerball jackpot. The drawing is tonight and the pool of money is more than $1.5 billion, the single largest lottery prize ever. The odds of winning are one in 292 million and Ken Anderson, professor of accounting with University of Tennessee Knoxville's Haslam College of Business, says it's important to understand that before you empty your wallet.

"If you spent $100, get 50 numbers, that's still pretty long odds, so there's not much a chance of winning," says Anderson. "Don't spend more money on the tickets than you're willing to lose."

Anderson and others point out it's also important to note that because of last October's change that allows players to select five of 69 numbers instead of 59, the odds of winning the jackpot were reduced.

According to published reports, Americans spent $70 billion on lottery sales in 2014. Numerous studies indicate that low-income households spend a disproportionate amount of their income on lottery tickets, compared to those in the middle and upper economic brackets.

In Tennessee lottery money funds scholarships and grants for state students and benefits approximately 100,000 people a year. Anderson says if you do wake up a winner tomorrow, take a breath before you head down to the lottery office.

"Get expert advice on what to do, before you cash in," he says. "This is a huge amount of money and anything you do with it has income tax ramifications, estate tax ramifications and gift tax ramifications."

The cash payout from today's jackpot would be about $930 million. Powerball is sold in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN