As Powerball prepares to celebrate its 20th year in 2012, the game is being redesigned to bring more value to its players. Beginning January 15, Powerball jackpots will start at $40 million and the jackpot will be easier to win. The overall odds of winning a prize also will be better, and there will be more chances to win a prize of at least $1 million cash. The game’s ticket price also will change, moving from $1 to $2.
Since getting its start in April 1992 in 15 states with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million, Powerball has grown into one of the world’s biggest and most recognizable lottery games. Today it is played in 44 jurisdictions across the nation, with players buying more than $3 billion annually in Powerball tickets. The biggest jackpot in the game so far was a $365 million prize split by eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant in February 2006.
But with that success comes a demand for innovation to keep things fresh and deliver greater value to the players. Rebecca Hargrove, CEO and President of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, said lotteries are responding with the latest changes in Powerball.
“Frequently we hear from players suggesting that in addition to Powerball’s big jackpots, we give away more $1 million cash prizes,” Hargrove said. “These changes to the game do just that: bring bigger jackpots, better odds, and more million dollar winners.”
The redesigned Powerball game will debut January 15, 2012.
Tickets in the game will cost $2 and the Power Play feature will still be available for an extra $1 per play. For that extra $1, players have the chance to win prizes up to $2 million cash. Players in the newly designed game will still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 59. But the group of numbers in the Powerball pool will shrink from 39 to 35, producing better overall odds of winning a prize in the game. Players today have a 1 in 35 overall chance of winning, which will improve to 1 in 31.8 in the revamped game.
The Powerball jackpots will start at $40 million, double the current starting jackpot of $20 million.
By changing Powerball’s ticket price to $2, U.S. lotteries are following the same successful approach they’ve long used with lottery instant games by offering various tickets at different prices, said Hargrove.
The Mega Millions jackpot game and other in-state lotto games, such as Tennessee Cash, along with various instant games, will still be available for those players who prefer the $1 price level of play.
The new Powerball game will still offer players nine ways to win prizes, with its second prize moving up to $1 million in cash from the current $200,000, and the lowest prize level (for those who match just the Powerball) being elevated to $4 from $3.
“We think these changes to Powerball will prove to be highly successful. Players will appreciate the bigger prizes and better odds, while at the same time increasing the Lottery’s contribution to the scholarship funds we support,” added Hargrove. “It’s difficult to predict an exact figure on the economic impact, but since we’ll be offering a $2 game with an increased appeal for all players, we expect to generate additional money for Tennessee students and their families.”
Powerball drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 9:59 p.m. Central Standard Time, 8:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time and 7:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. For more information about Powerball please visit www.powerball.com.
Powerball is owned by the Multi-State Lottery Association which is a government-benefit, non-profit association owned and operated by 33 member lotteries. MUSL currently coordinates six multi-state games in the United States.
About the Tennessee Education Lottery
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation operates entirely from the revenue it generates through the sale of its products. Net proceeds from sales of Lottery tickets, currently averaging over $5 million per week, fund specific education programs, including college scholarships and after-school programs.
Since the Lottery began selling tickets on Jan. 20, 2004, it has raised more than $2 billion for these programs. In addition to the educational beneficiaries, players have won $4.54 billion in prizes and Lottery retailer partners have earned $496.4 million in retailer commissions.
For more information, please visit www.tnlottery.com. For information about Lottery-funded scholarships, visit www.collegepaystn.com. To see a county-by-county breakdown of the number of students who benefit, visit www.seehowitaddsup.com.
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