BOISE – The Powerball game is undergoing some big changes this weekend.
The changes include creating better odds, bigger starting jackpots and creating more million dollar winners.
“For many years, players have been asking for more million dollar winning experiences while maintaining the ability to continue to play for large, multi-million dollar jackpots,” explained Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. “Starting this Sunday, we’ll set out on a course to do just that, create more millionaires in Idaho. If these changes had been in place over the past two years, the Idaho Lottery would have created seven more millionaires.”
The Powerball changes will begin immediately after this Saturday’s night draw. The current jackpot is $66 million.
Once the transition is complete, the new price of a single Powerball ticket will be $2 per play. A Powerball PowerPlay ticket will cost $3 per play.
Also, beginning Sunday morning, players who would like to purchase Powerball for 10 advance draws will once again be able to do so.
The most significant prize upgrade will occur when players match only the first five numbers and not the Powerball itself. This “Match 5” prize level is currently $200,000, but beginning with the first draw on January 18, 2012, that prize will become an automatic $1,000,000. Players who select the PowerPlay option will win $2,000,000 for a “Match 5” prize.
Since the $200,000 “Match 5” prize was introduced in the fall of 2005, Idaho has had 36 winners.
Additional changes to the game include a reduction in the number of different Powerballs from the current 39 to 35, improving the odds of winning to 1 in 31.8 and the overall odds of winning jackpot improve to 1 in 175.2 million. Jackpots will now start at $40 million and increase by a guaranteed minimum of $10 million per draw until it is won.