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State Powerball Laws

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on January 13, 2016 5:57 AM

$1.5 Billion. With a very capital B. That's a billion dollars PLUS another 500 million dollars. That's the current estimated Powerball jackpot and that is a nigh unfathomable amount of money. The kind of money that has people crossing state lines in hope for a shot at being set for life.

But not all states offer Powerball, and the ones that do may tax it a bit differently. Here's a rundown on state Powerball laws.

State Participation

States are free to set their own gambling and lottery laws, and six states -- Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah -- don't participate in the Powerball drawing. Alabama's constitution prohibits any state lottery and it's clear that Nevada doesn't want any competition for its legal gambling operations.

Every other state, including Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, offers Powerball through agreements with state lottery systems. The drawings are normally held at the Florida Lottery's headquarters in Tallahassee.

State Programs

Most states use lottery revenue to fund public projects or as contributions to the state's general fund. For example, California earmarks lottery revenue for public education funding, while half of Colorado's lottery proceeds go to a conservation fund and the state's Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

State Taxation

How much you'll actually take home if you win the Powerball depends on a variety of factors: the size of the final jackpot, whether you accept the prize as an annuity (paid over time in 30 installments), and whether the state in which you live has a personal income tax.

Seven states don't: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. This might be one of the times when Florida is the place to be: you can play the Powerball, you won't have to pay state taxes on the winnings, and the last big winning ticket was bought in Zephyrhills, Florida.

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