$400-million Powerball jackpot signals California Lottery changes
Bigger jackpots -- like Wednesday night’s $400-million Powerball drawing -- are attracting more players and excitement to the California Lottery after years of decline, officials say.
Just two months ago, the Mega Millions game produced a $648-million jackpot, and the Powerball had a $400-million jackpot about five months ago.
The turnaround is the result of changes made to the lottery in 2010, when revenues were falling. The changes brought bigger prizes, but they also altered the formula for how much revenue schools receive.
California joined the Powerball game last April and since then, enormous jackpots have become more common. About a month after the state joined, a Powerball jackpot climbed to about $600 million, setting a record for the game.
Officials say that with Powerball’s $2 tickets, jackpots in that game can rise faster with fewer tickets sold than in a game like Mega Millions, which costs $1 per play.
The odds of winning Wednesday’s big Powerball prize are about 1 in 175 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Assn.
For Saturday’s drawing, California sold more than 151,000 winning tickets for smaller prizes ranging from $3 to $5,937, according to the California Lottery.
If Wednesday’s jackpot rolls over, lottery officials have said past experience suggests Saturday’s draw will offer a prize in excess of $500 million.
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