Iowa Lottery players will be able to buy tickets in another big jackpot game starting this Sunday. Mega Millions is currently sold in 12 states while Powerball is sold in 30 states, including Iowa. U.S. lottery directors reached an agreement in October to cross-sell the games.
Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says the deal is of particular interest to lottery customers living near the Mississippi River. That’s because Illinois is the only neighboring state with the Mega Millions game. “So when the Mega Millions jackpot has been big in Illinois, you see folks from Iowa driving over there to buy tickets and when the Powerball jackpot has been big here in Iowa, you see folks from Illinois coming across the river to buy tickets,” Neubauer said.
“Now, everyone is going to be able to stay home and buy their tickets at home.” The addition of a new big jackpot game should boost profits at the Iowa Lottery and bring more money to the state. “We can’t for sure tell what the impact of Mega Millions will be on Powerball and vice-versa, but the bottom line is we anticipate this will be a positive for lottery sales in Iowa as well as proceeds for the state of Iowa,” Neubauer said.
Mega Millions drawings are held at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Powerball drawings are at 10 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is for an estimated 144-million dollars ($144 million) while tomorrow’s Powerball drawing is for nearly $90 million.
“The change is coming at a great time for players in both games because the jackpots have been growing and are really getting up there in both games,” Neubauer said. Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing will be the first to include tickets purchased in Iowa. Lottery players will also have more time to buy tickets for their favorite games.
Beginning Sunday, the sales cutoff times for Powerball and other games will be pushed back. For example, the sales cutoff for Powerball will be moved from 7:59 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Neubauer says customers have requested the extension for years and now the lottery is able to make the change.