In the three months since lottery sales began in Tennessee, Paul Cressend has yet to buy a ticket in his home state.
Instead, the health insurance salesman tries his luck in Georgia, Florida and Kentucky.
That's because all three participate in either Mega Millions or Powerball, multistate games that award jackpots in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Tennessee's highest prize for state-sponsored games is $1 million.
"If they had big enough jackpots I'd buy lottery tickets in Tennessee," Cressend said as he waited in line for a car wash at a Brentwood gas station. "It's all bad odds, but I'd probably take the risk."
Cressend's spending habits may change this week when Tennessee joins 25 other states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a member of Powerball, the nation's largest multistate game with a jackpot that has been as high as $314.9 million.
Tennessee already offers 19 scratchoff games and one pingpong-ball-style drawing. While those have been successful, the top prizes -- ranging from $500 to $1 million -- just aren't large enough for everyone.
"Some people only play for very, very large jackpots," Tennessee Lottery CEO Rebecca Paul said.
"When you join a multi-jurisdictional game you use the power of 26 games to create the very large jackpots they want."
Zippy Brown, a clerk at the convenience store where Cressend was getting his car washed, said he receives daily questions about when Powerball will begin in Tennessee.
"It's already a zoo here, and this is going to make it worse," Brown said of Powerball. "People want the big money. They're tired of working for someone else."
Powerball tickets go on sale in Tennessee early this morning. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday.
For $1, players will select five numbers, each from 1 to 53, plus a sixth number from 1 to 42 for the Powerball. The minimum jackpot is $10 million and grows each week until there is a winner. Overall odds of winning are 1 in 36.
Last week's jackpot rose to $75 million.
That's more than large enough for Cressend, who says he'd buy five or 10 tickets if the jackpot was at least $20 million to $30 million.
"I wouldn't get extravagant," he said.
If he won, Cressend says he'd use the money to take care of his kids, who are "up and grown," so they wouldn't have any financial worries.
Tennessee's lottery announced last week it had raised almost $64 million through March 31 toward its goal of $88 million to fund scholarships for an estimated 65,000 students expected to attend Tennessee colleges and universities this fall.