Can PowerBall Fever Lead to a Financial Headache?

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Many of you will be trying your luck on hitting what's nearly a quarter of a billion dollar PowerBall jackpot.

This, despite the fact you only have a 1 in 146,000,000 chance of winning.

I think anyone would agree that $240 million could help them with a lot of things, bills, debt, house or car payments.

But sometimes, gambling can be dangerous, and end up costing you everything you have.

When the PowerBall jackpot reaches extraordinary numbers like $240 million, people spend big bucks to bump up their chances for a win.

"This morning I had $37, she bought 37 single tickets, I had another one that was $100, 10 different tickets and yesterday I had $50, 50 single tickets," says store clerk Meghann McCulley.

But with odds like 1 in 146,000,000, taking a chance isn't always the best idea.

"If you feel like you're trying to replenish your bank account or if you're trying to make it part of your employment, or self-employment that could be a problem," says Hilde Phipps from the Helen Ross McNabb Center.

And it is a problem for many people. Phipps says when gambling is played for entertainment, it's fun, but when it's used out of desperation, it's trouble.

"Once it becomes a problem then it starts taking money and resources that you should be paying bills with or taking care of your family," says Phipps.

And that's when Faith Tapp with Consumer Credit Counseling Services says you can face credit damage.

"Having so much hope on winning the lottery is just the same as charging everything and hoping next month, next year I'll come up with a better plan," says Tapp.

And chasing a loss or chasing a win is not what Tapp calls 'a better plan'. Tapp says when it comes to your finances, a fast solution to financial problems is not realistic.

"They really need to have a realistic plan that's based on money they know is going to come in," she says.

The Multi State Lottery Association reminds you to play responsibility.

And if you think you have a gambling problem, there is help available.

You can call the Helen Ross McNabb Center at 523-4704.