Starting Sunday, Jan. 15, a regular Powerball ticket will cost you $2, double the previous price. But the people behind the 42-state, $3 billion-a-year lottery say more players will now have the chance to become millionaires.
It’s a “birthday makeover” as Powerball turns 20 this year. But the question is: Will people still want to play after a price hike of 100%?
Here are other changes to expect once the $1 Powerball passes into history with Saturday night’s drawing:
- The minimum jackpot — matching all five white-ball numbers plus the red Powerball — will be $40 million, up from $20 million.
- Matching five numbers (your Powerball pick was a dud) will get you a cool $1 million, up from $200,000 now.
- Your odds of winning the jackpot will also increase because the choice of Powerball numbers is being scaled back — from 39 to 35. (Regular white balls will still number 1 through 59.) “That will raise the odds of winning from 1 in 192 million to 1 in 175 million,” The Associated Press says. That’s still just slightly better than a snowball’s chance in the underworld.
- The overall odds of winning something will also increase — from 1 in 35 to 1 in 31.8 — not that you’re playing to win the $4 minimum prize (up from the current $3).
- Power Play will also change. “Power Play prizes become set prizes, no longer dependent upon a multiplier,” the Multi-State Lottery Association says. Rather, pay that extra dollar — now you’re up to $3 for one ticket — and a $4 prize becomes $12, a $7 prize is $14, $100 in winnings becomes $200, $10,000 becomes $40,000 (!) and the $1 million prize for matching five white balls doubles to $2 million (!!). The Arizona Lottery has a chart that explains how that works.
The association, a nonprofit owned by the various state lotteries, expects Powerball purchases to drop off at first, until jackpots climb, and they will even faster than they do now if no one wins. “The current game is designed for an average jackpot of $141 million. … (T)he math for the new design says the average will be $255 million,” the association says