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Why you're not wasting your money by playing the lottery

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -

The record breaking Powerball jackpot is now at $1.5 billion.

It is a cash-value of more than $900,000,000.

The dollar signs have players all over the country and here in Michiana day dreaming about what they would do with that lucky, winning ticket.

“I say I’m not showing up for work tomorrow,” Powerball player Gail Watkins laughed.

“Definitely prepare my kids for college and their future,” added Heidi Smith.

The odds of winning are 1 in 292 million.

But lottery officials in both Indiana and Michigan said the money you spend is funding important state projects.

In 2015, the Hoosier Lottery brought in a total of $242,458,988.

“If you know a teacher, a firefighter, a police officer, or if you drive a car, you’ve probably benefited from the good causes for the Hoosier Lottery,” said Hoosier Lottery Regional Promotional Specialist Kimberly Clark.

$30,000,000 went to The Pension Relief Fund for police officers and firefighters.

Another $30,000,000 went to support The Teachers Retirement Fund.

And $182,458,988 was given to the Build Indiana Fund.

The Build Indiana fund supports everything from construction projects, job creation and economic development, to maintaining Indiana roads.

In Michigan, 29 cents of each lottery ticket goes to the state’s School Aid Fund.

In 2015 the Michigan Lottery gave $796,000,000 to that fund.

It was a record amount.

“The real winner in this is going to be the Michigan School Aid Fund. The School Aid Fund primarily funds the K through 12 education system in Michigan. There’s also some of it that goes to support community colleges and universities,” Michigan Lottery Director of Public Relations Jeff Holyfield.

It equals about $495 per student and is used on everything from school supplies to improve technology throughout school districts.

So if you’re feeling guilty about spending those 2 bucks, lottery officials say your money is appreciated and important.

If you are planning to play Wednesday’s Powerball you have until 9:58 pm to buy your ticket.

The drawing is tonight at 11 pm.

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