Lotto fever sweeps Tampa Bay area

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Everyone has an idea of how to spend Wednesday night’s estimated $500 million jackpot. From the entire Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team to dozens and dozens of Rolex watches to 147 private jets, people are thinking of what they’d buy.

With the jackpot, you could snap up all of that and more.

“Some people play their own tickets. Some people quick pick. Some people think that whatever comes out, it’s destiny, it’s meant to be if they win,” Rainbow Mart clerk Yazan Hamid said.

Along with a $2 ticket, Powerball players here in Tampa bring their hopes and dreams to the counter. “I don’t know if it’s worth going to school anymore if you have that much money,” Hamid said.

“Oh my god, I would have a fit. I would scream, pay all my bills off and live the way I want to live,” said Linda Bivens, who bought a Powerball ticket on Wednesday.

Winning the lottery may seem like it would be all diamonds and champagne, but it can actually be a double-edged sword.

“This is no scratch off ticket. This is a life-changing event. Folks get excited, they start spending it. They start buying houses and cars and all of a sudden they can’t afford the taxes and the insurance on those houses,” certified financial planner Steve Overton said.

One study even shows 44 percent of lottery winners spend all their winnings within 5 years.

“It could be a blessing. It could be the worst thing that ever happened to you,” Overton added.

Despite the odds – 1 in 292.2 million if you’re keeping track – hope still springs eternal here in the lucky hearts of those in Tampa. “I need a new car. I need a new car right now, so if I win, I would get a new car, new house, take care of my family,” Bivens said.

The Powerball drawing will take place at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday night.

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