Powerball Rings in New Year with Bigger Jackpots
DENVER – Powerball will provide players with a new reason to play next year: A larger starting jackpot. Thanks to some re-tooling, the Powerball jackpot will start at $20 million instead of $15 million in 2009. That change should help the average jackpot grow from an estimated $95.5 million to $141 million. The odds of winning any prize will also improve from one in 37 to one in 36, adding more than three million extra prizes each year.
“We believe these changes will help re-energize Powerball and provide more excitement for our players,” said Colorado Lottery Director Jack Boehm. “We’re also proud of the fact that these improvements won’t cost players anything extra. Powerball tickets will still offer the chance to win a large prize for just $1.”
To achieve the improvements, Powerball will add some white ball numbers and will remove some red ball numbers. Instead of choosing from 1 to 55 on the white ball side, players will be able to select numbers from 1 to 59. For the red Powerball, players will opt for numbers from 1 to 39, instead of 1 to 42. In addition, the jackpot pool percentage will increase, making the jackpots grow larger and faster. Also new in 2009, players who match five of five and choose the Power Play option for $1 will get an extra boost. No matter what the Power Play number selected that night (two, three or four), a player’s prize will always be multiplied by five. That could mean $1 million. The prize for matching five of five without the Power Play option will continue to be $200,000.
The enhanced game (which will include the state of Florida) will launch with whatever the current jackpot is on Jan. 4. The first drawing will be held on Jan. 7. Players will still be able to use advance play to purchase tickets for future drawings. The Power Play option, which allows players to multiply potential winnings, will also remain in place.
Proceeds from Powerball stay in Colorado to help keep the state beautiful. In fiscal year 2008, sales from the Lottery’s games generated $122.3 million for open space, parks, recreation centers, trails and wildlife protection. The Lottery has returned $2 billion to Colorado since its creation 25 years ago.