The Iowa Lottery Board gave approval today for Iowa retailers to sell the multi-state Mega Millions game along with the Iowa-based Powerball lottery game. Iowa Lottery vice president Mary Neubauer says states that sell Powerball have been working for several months on the plans to add Mega Millions sales.
Neubauer says it’s “a very big undertaking” for the lotteries to make the changes to sell Mega Millions as they need to program their computers and do testing. She says the Iowa Lottery Board’s approval is another step in the process and the sale of Mega Millions can begin January 31st. The two games have been competitors, but Neubauer says they believe combined sales will help both — much the same way that selling scratch tickets and pull-tab games at the same outlets generates more sales.
Neubauer says it’s the same multiple game concept where people will get another option to play a large jackpot lottery game, and they may play both games, or one of the games they haven’t played before. Powerball brought in just over 58 million dollars in the last fiscal year, and Neubauer says they believe adding Mega Millions will boost Powerball sales by eight to 10%.
Powerball drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturdays, and Mega Millions drawings are on Tuesday and Friday. She says Iowa will advertise the availability of both games, and will also give retailers a bonus when winning Mega Millions tickets are sold in Iowa. Neubauer says retailers who sell a jackpot winning Powerball ticket get a $10,000 bonus, and the Iowa Lottery Board voted to give the same bonus to retailers who sell a winning Mega Millions ticket.
Mega Millions is now sold in 12 states — including some of the largest such as California and New York. Powerball is sold in 32 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Neubauer says if everything goes as planned, the first drawing where Iowans could play Mega Millions would be Tuesday, February second.