Louisiana Lottery Reminds Players of Powerball Changes
Starting Jan. 4, the multistate, multimillion-dollar jackpot game, Powerball, experienced several changes designed to create larger, faster growing jackpots. In addition to the game changes, Florida joined Louisiana and the other 30 lotteries who now offer Powerball, adding a population of 18.8 million to those who have the chance to play the game.
One of the most noticeable Powerball changes is the amount of its starting jackpot, which will jump from $15 million to $20 million, the world's largest starting jackpot for a lotto-style game. In addition, the average jackpot will increase from an expected $95.5 million to $141 million, and the percentage of prize funds dedicated to the jackpot prize will also increase.
To grow the average jackpot size, four white ball numbers have been added to the game's field for a total of 59, and three red Powerball numbers have been removed for a total of 39. These changes to Powerball's matrix have lengthened the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 146.1 million to 1 in 195.2 million.
At the same time, the overall odds of winning any prize decreased from 1 in 37 to 1 in 35. With the change in overall odds, the game is expected to produce an additional 3 million prize winners each year.
"One thing that is not changing is the price of playing Powerball," noted Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson. "While the cost of other consumer items has increased over the years, a chance at winning Powerball's multi-million-dollar jackpot is still $1."
Powerball is played by choosing five white ball numbers and one red Powerball number. The game offers nine ways to win with prize levels starting at $3 for matching only the red Powerball number. The jackpot is won by matching all six numbers drawn.
For an additional $1 per play, Powerball players can add the Power Play option to their ticket for the chance to multiply any nonjackpot prize up to five times, depending upon the multiplier number randomly selected during the drawing. Each Power Play multiplier (2X, 3X, 4X or 5X) has an equal chance of being drawn. On Jan. 4, Power Play experienced a change so that the 5X multiplier will always apply to match-5 prizes, when the Power Play option is purchased.
The Powerball jackpot amount is advertised as a 30-year graduated annuity, but winners may choose a cash payment option equal to the value of the jackpot prize pool. Powerball jackpots are pari-mutuel, meaning that the prize is divided equally among all winning tickets. In accordance with game rules, all set prizes and Power Play prizes, including the match-5 prize, may become pari-mutuel if claims exceed available prize funds.
"We look forward to congratulating even more Powerball winners and millionaires in 2009," said Rose Hudson. "We are thrilled to welcome Florida to the Powerball family and strengthen what is already the number one brand of lotto-style games in America."
Sales for the new version of Powerball began Jan. 4, with the first drawing of the new game occurring on Jan. 7. In preparation for the changes, the Lottery progressively and temporarily suspended the game's multidraw feature, which allows players to purchase plays for up to 20 advance drawings. The multidraw feature returned to full functionality again on Jan. 4.
This new game version is the fifth design for Powerball since it was created in 1992. The last change was in August 2005. Since then, two lotteries have joined the game, adding an additional population of 12.1 million. When Florida joined Powerball, the live drawings on Wednesday and Saturday nights have moved from Des Moines, Iowa, to Orlando, Fla.
The Louisiana Lottery joined Powerball in 1995 and has had 13 jackpot winners to date, including two in 2008. The Lottery encourages responsible play and urges anyone with a gambling problem to call toll free 1-877-770-7867 for help. In addition, players are strongly encouraged to always sign the back of their tickets immediately after purchasing for security purposes.