Big Changes Coming to America’s Powerball Game at Turn of the Year

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If you’re a Powerball freak, as I am…be prepared. Be very very prepared.

On Jan. 15, 2012, the multistate game 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.

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 on this as we approach the New Year.

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Married to a beautiful (and extremely intelligent--- smarter than I am) South African woman. One child (brilliant). I've written three books, only one now available. Editor in chief of magazines...former managing editor .... news reporter, magazine writer, joker, sometimes a fool, lottery expert, lover of old, classic movies, music fanatic, Science Fiction fan (Warhammer 40,000, Game of Thrones). Goal for next year: Walk the Camino de Santiago. Into metaphysics, Esther Hicks (Abraham), Louise Hay

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