A new version of the Powerball game scheduled to begin in January will start with a bigger jackpot and better odds of winning it.
The new $2 game launches on Jan. 15, 2012. You’ll hear more about the changes as the launch date gets closer, but here are some of the biggest ones.
- A bigger starting jackpot. The Powerball jackpot will start at $40 million, rolling at least $10 million each time it isn’t hit. Currently, the jackpot starts at $20 million.
- A larger second prize. Players who match the five white balls but not the Powerball will win $1 million, up from $200,000, and those who buy Power Play tickets for an extra dollar, a $3 buy, will win $2 million, up from $1 million.
- Better odds at winning. The odds of winning a jackpot will be one in 175 million, as opposed to the current odds of 1 in 195 million. The odds of winning a prize in the overall game will also get better, moving to 1 in 31.8, down from 1 in 35.
The bigger jackpots result from the change in price, from $1 to $2. The better odds result from a change in the numbers that can be drawn in the game. The numbers available for the Powerball will be reduced from 1 to 39 to 1 to 35. Powerball players will still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 1 to 59.
The N.C. Education Lottery is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association, the nonprofit that owns and operates the Powerball game. Alice Garland, executive director of the NCEL, worked with other state lottery directors in designing the new game.
“We believe those who play Powerball in North Carolina will like the bigger jackpots and enjoy the better odds at winning them in the new version of the game,” Garland said. “Powerball is our most popular jackpot game. The result of these changes should be more winners winning bigger prizes and a better return for education in North Carolina.”
With the change, our jackpot games will offer players different price points just like our collection of instant games do.
For instance, a player who prefers a $1 ticket could continue buying a $1 Mega Million ticket or a $1 Carolina Cash 5 ticket. Those who like a $2 ticket with the chance at bigger prizes could choose either a $2 Powerball ticket or a $2 Megaplier ticket in the Mega Millions game. And finally those who want to win the biggest Powerball prizes could buy a $3 Power Play ticket.
Powerball turns 20 in April 2012. It currently is played in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.