Lottery Prepares for Big Changes to Powerball Coming in January
On Jan. 15, 2012, the multistate game Powerball will get a facelift, including a starting jackpot that doubles to $40 million, better odds of winning and a $1 million match-5 prize. In order to provide these game enhancements, the cost of a ticket will increase to $2.
The decision to change the game was necessitated by a 96 percent increase in player population when 11 additional lotteries joined the game in Feb. 2010.
"With greater participation, fewer drawings occur before jackpots reach higher levels and these jackpots are getting hit faster," explained Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson. "Player research indicates Powerball is played primarily for the opportunity to win a life-changing jackpot, so to sustain the game's long-term success considering the different gaming options available to today's players, the changes focus on what players have come to expect from the brand - bigger jackpots and more millionaires, while also giving them better odds of winning."
Toward that end, Powerball's starting jackpot will double from $20 million to $40 million with a minimum $10 million increase each time the jackpot rolls. In addition, the average jackpot size will increase from $144 million to $222 million. Odds of winning the jackpot will decrease from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million.
The match-5 prize for matching all five white ball numbers, but missing the red Powerball number will increase from $200,000 to $1 million, and the prize for matching only the red Powerball number will increase from $3 to $4.
The overall odds of winning any prize will go from 1 in 35 to 1 in 32.
To produce these game enhancements, four numbers will be removed from the field of red Powerball numbers for a total of 35 and the cost of a ticket will increase to $2.
In order to prepare for Powerball game changes, the Lottery will temporarily and gradually suspend the multidraw purchase option for Powerball tickets, beginning Nov. 9. The multidraw option allows players to purchase plays for 20, 10, five, four, three or two advance, consecutive drawings.
The Powerball multidraw option will be suspended according to the following schedule and will become fully operational again on Jan. 15, 2012, when sales start for the enhanced game version:
Last Day to Purchase
Wed., Nov. 9, 2011
Wed., Dec. 14, 2011
Sat., Dec. 31, 2011
Wed., Jan. 4, 2012
Sat., Jan. 7, 2012
Wed., Jan. 11, 2012
Power Play, the $1 add-on option to Powerball, will also change to no longer involve a multiplier number. Instead, when players add Power Play to their ticket for an additional $1 per play, they will have the chance to increase any nonjackpot prize won to a set amount. These new Power Play replacement prizes are at least double the original Powerball prize amount, and range from $12 for matching just the Powerball to $2 million for matching all five white ball numbers.
"The Lottery has always prided itself on offering a product mix that promotes a variety of games with price points, play-styles, odds and top prizes to meet our players' different preferences," said Hudson. "By launching Mega Millions on Nov. 16 and with these enhancements coming to Powerball in January we're giving our players even more choices for playing big jackpot games four times a week!"
With the world's largest starting jackpot, Powerball is currently played in 44 jurisdictions across the nation. The Louisiana Lottery joined Powerball in 1995 and has had 14 jackpot winners to date. The last Powerball game change occurred in January 2009 when Florida joined the game.
More information about Powerball, including how to play, past winners and winning numbers, can be found on the Lottery's website. Players are advised to sign the back of their tickets for security purposes immediately after purchasing. The Lottery also encourages responsible play and urges anyone with a gambling problem to call toll free 1-877-770-7867 for help.