Powerball jackpot expected to hit $1 billion, drawing Monday night

NOW: Powerball jackpot expected to hit $1 billion, drawing Monday night

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- What would you do if you won the Powerball jackpot? That's now a billion-dollar question with the jackpot expected to surpass that number Monday night.

"Let's go exotic car shopping!" said Cristy Ziedonis. "I would definitely share it with my family and friends. Maybe make some kind of charitable contribution."

"I would probably help the homeless," said Nicole Scott. "If I ever was the winner, I'll make sure everybody'd be taken care of."

It's a fun fantasy to think about, and according to the odds from Powerball.com, it will remain just that for most; a fantasy.

People purchasing a Powerball ticket have one in 24.9 odds of winning a prize. To win the billion-dollar jackpot; one in 229.2 million.

"It's a form of consumer financial fraud," said Les Bernal, national director for the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation. "It's a big con, not just for the people that play the game, but all the people who never bought a lottery ticket; you're getting ripped off, too."

Bernal says states like Wisconsin promoting lottery-type contests is a disservice to the American people.

"They've turned a nation of small-earners, who could be small-savers, and we've turned them into a nation of habitual betters," Bernal said. "Fifty years ago, we used to encourage American people to buy savings bonds, invest in your country. We encouraged people to build wealth. Here you have the public voice in Wisconsin. It's not encouraging people to save money, it's not encouraging people to go out and get better educated, it's going out and ripping them off."

Wisconsin Lottery says since 1988, it has generated more than $17 billion in total revenue with over $9.7 billion in prizes paid and more than $5.1 billion in funding for property tax credits to eligible Wisconsin homeowners. Bernal says promoting the lottery leads more people into a life of poverty and costs taxpayers more money.

"This is a government program that openly cheats citizens to play a game that is designed to get them to lose everything the more they participate in," Bernal explained. "You pay even if you don't play. All these folks facing intense poverty, we make these public investments in them to pay for health care, to pay for housing subsidies, food subsidies, to help people get out of poverty. It's a back door attack on all these tax dollars that we're investing in people to help them get ahead."

Powerball drawings take place every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday night at 9:59 p.m. CT.

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