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Powerball Excitement Grows, But Not For Gambling Addicts

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Lauren-Pastrana-600x450 Lauren Pastrana
Lauren Pastrana joined CBS Miami in April 2012 as a reporter. Sh...
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UPDATE: The Powerball numbers are: 5-16-22-23-29  PB 6

MIAMI (CBS4) – Last-minute Powerball players flocked to local gas stations and convenience stores Wednesday night just before the 10 p.m. deadline to buy tickets for the record drawing.

Some had played before, like Joseph Brannon. “I always play once a week,” Brannon said.

Others had significantly less gambling gusto.

“This is my first time ever playing the lotto in my entire life,” Jannett Lopez told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana.

Floridians bought Powerball tickets at a rate of 20,000 a minute Wednesday.

The BP gas station on 87th Avenue in Doral saw a steady flow of customers, despite the slim odds of winning.

The chance you’ll match all 5 numbers plus the Powerball is just one in 175 million.

Most players have a plan for life post-jackpot.

“First thing, retire. Second thing, I haven’t even thought of it,” Norman Morejon said. Morejon said he won’t stay up Wednesday to find out if he won. He said watching the numbers drawn on TV makes him nervous.

“I would probably invest it in my company,” Eduardo Bencomo said of his potential winnings. Becomo bought a ticket for himself Wednesday night, after buying several tickets as part of an office pool earlier in the day.

While winning would be a dream come true for some, others won’t be taking the chance.

“Gambling flipped my life upside down,” Lisa Metzler told CBS News.

Metzler, a letter carrier, said she lost $70,000 playing lottery games.

“I was hooked from day one,” she said.

Metlzer sought help through the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.

The agency lost $1.5 million in funding last year, while the state spent $30 million on lottery advertising, according to CBS News.

Those ads are designed to make sure you know exactly how much money is at stake,

“550 million. That’s half a billion dollars,” Norman Morejon said with a huge smile as he walked out with his ticket. “That’s a nice club to be in. A very nice club.”

If you think you’re addicted to gambling, call 888-Admit-It. The 24-hour helpline is confidential and multilingual. Visit http://www.gamblinghelp.org/.

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