The Iowa-based Powerball lottery game is undergoing some changes in its 13th year to try and juice up the jackpots. Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says one change involves the pool of numbers drawn to pick a winner. Two white balls are going to be added to the pool of numbers chosen in the first part of the game to up the balls in the pool from 53 to 55. The red powerballs used in the drawing will stay at 42. Also, starting August 28th, Neubauer says the starting Powerball jackpot will jump from 10 to 15-million dollars, and the prize for getting all five numbers but missing the Powerball will double from 100 to 200-thousand dollars. Neubauer says three new state lotteries joined the Powerball drawing and the changes are an attempt to keep people playing by keeping the jackpots higher. She says as you add more people who play, more people win, and the jackpot stays at a “relatively low level.” She says 13 people have already won the jackpot for this fiscal year that ends in June, and each time they’ve won, the jackpot drops back down to the starting level. The tweaks to the drawing will lower your odds of winning the big prize. She says right now the overall odds of winning any prize are one in 36, and that will change to one in 36-point-one. The odds of winning the jackpot however will change from about one in 120-million to one in 146-million. If you do beat the odds and win, Neubauer says they’re changing the option that allows you to collect your dough in yearly payments. She says those payments are currently equal amounts, but some people have expressed a concern over the impact of inflation on the payouts. So, she says they’ll increase the yearly payments slightly every year– maybe in the range of three to four percent. The annuity option pays out the winnings over 30 yearly installments. Neubauer says the Powerball drawing will still cost one dollar for the basic play. She says they’re announcing the changes now to give all the lotteries a chance to learn about them.
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