8/13/2008 - 8:27 AM
Powerball Changes Expected for January 2009
The 31 lotteries that operate the multistate, multimillion-dollar jackpot game, Powerball, recently approved game changes designed to create larger, faster growing jackpots and more millionaires. The new version of Powerball is expected to take effect in January 2009, when Florida joins the game.
One of the most noticeable changes is the amount of the 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 will be added to the game's field for a total of 59, and three red Powerball numbers will be removed for a total of 39. These changes to Powerball's matrix will increase 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 will decrease 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.
Powerball is played by choosing five white ball numbers and one red Powerball number. The game offers seven prize levels for matching various combinations, starting at $3 for matching only the red Powerball number. The jackpot is won by matching all six numbers.
Another change to the game will be a guaranteed Power Play multiplier of "5" on match-5 Powerball prizes. The usual prize for matching five white ball numbers is $200,000, but with the Power Play option, the resulting cash prize would be $1 million.
For an additional $1 dollar 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.
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 begins sales in January 2009, an additional population of 18.8 million will have the chance to play Powerball.
"The Louisiana Lottery looks forward to congratulating even more Powerball winners and millionaires," said Lottery President 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."
The Louisiana Lottery joined Powerball in 1995 and has had 13 jackpot winners to date, including three in the last year alone. More information about Powerball, including how to play, past winners and winning numbers, can be found on the Lottery's Web site, www.louisianalottery.com. The Lottery encourages responsible play and urges anyone with a gambling problem to call toll free 1-877-770-7867 for help.