The Iowa-based “Powerball” lottery game turns 10 today. “Powerball” was the invention of Iowa Lottery Director Ed Stanek, who says it was sort of the child of the first multi-state lottery known as “Lotto-America.”He says sales of “Lotto-America” were sagging in 1991, so Stanek and the director of the Oregon Lottery got together and thought up the new game. Stanek says the game took off because it had plenty of prizes.He says historically the odds of winning a lottery game were one-in-100 and in “Powerball” you have a one-in-34 chance of winning a prize. Powerball’s hit record jackpots of 295-million dollars in 1998 and August of 2001. Stanek says there’s potential for an even bigger pot.Pennsylvania will join the other 21 states and District of Columbia in the Powerball game, and that should make jackpots go up. Will the jackpot ever hit 500-million or more?Stanek says the jackpots could hit 400-million or more. One of the myths of Powerball is that people in other states are more likely to win the jackpot than Iowans. Stanek says that’s common in every state that plays the game, and would happen even if Iowa was the only participant.He says if all the sales were in one state, then people in the small cities would say the people in the big cities always won. And if the tickets were sold in only one city, he says people on one street would say the people on another street always win. Stanek says Powerball will probably generate one-and-a-half billion dollars in sales this year.
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