The Powerball Product Group is determined to keep draws going every Wednesday and Saturday, as the game provides valuable support for good causes in all of the participating states. However, it is not possible at the current time to keep offering all of the advertised prizes, so a change has been deemed necessary.
The initial plan was to cut the starting jackpot in two, from $40 million down to $20 million, while the minimum increase between draws was set to be reduced from $10 million to $2 million. However, this proposal has now been scrapped.
Instead, the value of the top prize and the rollover amount will be based on game sales and interest rates, and will be announced prior to each draw. The news rules will come into force from Wednesday 8th April.
If Saturday’s $180 million jackpot rolls over, it will grow to $190 million for the draw on 8th April. If there is no winner in that draw, it will not grow by $10 million if there are not sufficient ticket sales. If there is a jackpot winner this Saturday, the jackpot for the following draw will be $20 million, but after that there will be no guarantees made about minimum jackpots.
“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes. Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries,” said Gregg Mineo, who is the Maine Lottery Director and also chairman of the Powerball Product Group, which is the consortium of state lotteries that offers Powerball.
“Since last week, more states and cities have asked their residents to stay at home, which has affected normal consumer behaviors and Powerball game sales. In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”
Powerball tickets cost $2 and the game is played is 45 states, plus the jurisdictions of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. The money raised from ticket sales is split differently in each jurisdiction, but a portion is used to support good causes in every location and a portion goes towards paying prizes.
In normal times, the jackpot can start to accelerate rapidly as it grows higher, and it reached a record $1.58 billion in January 2016.