The Powerball jackpot has been growing since late June and has climbed to an estimated $245 million for Wednesday’s drawing. In addition, Iowa Lottery C.E.O. Terry Rich says the Hot Lotto jackpot is up to an estimated $16.4 million, the second largest jackpot ever offered in that game.
"I think very few times in lottery history has both the Hot Lotto and the Powerball had these kind of jackpots simultaneously," Rich said. "It’s almost like the Powerball moons have aligned together to offer two great options for players." Wednesday’s estimated Powerball jackpot ranks as the 10th largest in the history of the game.
Powerball tickets are sold in Iowa and 29 other states. Hot Lotto, which is essentially a mini version of Powerball, is play in Iowa and 12 other states. "Iowa’s actually had six different Powerball jackpot winners and six different Hot Lotto jackpot winners, so we’ve actually had quite a few for the size of our state," Rich said.
Lottery retailers will be busy leading up to Wednesday’s 10 p.m. drawings. When jackpots rise, so do the number of players.
Rich says the big jackpots encourage more people to play as part of an office pool or try what he calls the "39-dollar option." "That option is when people buy every single Powerball number and then do the quick pick on the other numbers, so they are guaranteed a winner by at least having the Powerball," Rich said.
The increased jackpot and expectations for a boost in ticket sales also come with a warning from lottery officials to play responsibly.
"Kind of a popular lottery saying is ‘remember to play with your head rather than over your head,’" Rich said. Iowa’s last Powerball jackpot winners were Tim and Kellie Guderian. The couple from Fort Dodge claimed a $200.8 million jackpot in October 2006.