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RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– A new version of the Powerball game scheduled to begin on Jan. 15 will provide bigger jackpots and better odds of winning them.

The enhancements, approved in June by lotteries that make up the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), will result in the first price increase in tickets since the game started almost 20 years ago. Beginning Jan. 15, Powerball tickets will cost $2 each. The first Powerball drawing under the new game structure will be on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The N.C. Education Lottery is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which owns and operates Powerball. The changes apply to Powerball here as well as all lotteries offering the game. Powerball is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“To stay successful, lotteries must keep their games fresh and exciting and respond to what their players want,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “We believe those who play Powerball in North Carolina want to see bigger jackpots and prizes and want a better chance at winning them. The result of these changes should be a more popular game and consequently a better return for education in North Carolina.”

The key changes to Powerball are:

· A bigger starting jackpot. The Powerball jackpot will start at $40 million, rolling at least $10 million each time it isn’t won. Currently, the jackpot starts at $20 million.

· A larger second prize. Players who match the five white balls but not the Powerball will win $1 million, up from $200,000, and those who buy Power Play tickets for an extra dollar, a $3 buy, will win $2 million, up from $1 million.

· Better odds at winning. The odds of winning a jackpot will be one in 175 million, as opposed to the current odds of 1 in 195 million. The odds of winning a prize in the overall game will also get better, moving to 1 in 31.8, down from 1 in 35.

The better odds result from a change in the numbers that can be drawn in the game. The numbers available for the Powerball will be reduced from 39 to 35. Powerball players will still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 1 to 59.

Garland said the changes mean that the Education Lottery’s jackpot games will offer players different price points just like the collection of instant games where ticket prices range from $1 to $20.

For instance, a player who prefers a $1 ticket for a jackpot game could continue buying a $1 Mega Million ticket or a $1 Carolina Cash 5 ticket. Those who like a $2 ticket with the chance at bigger prizes could choose either a $2 Powerball ticket or a $2 Megaplier ticket in the Mega Millions game. And finally those who want to win the biggest Powerball prizes could buy a $3 Power Play ticket.

Lottery players in North Carolina have played Powerball since May 30, 2006 when it became the first jackpot game offered by the N.C. Education Lottery.

From its inception through Dec. 28, 2011, the Powerball game in North Carolina has:

· Produced total sales of $1.13 billion.

· Raised more than $453 million for the education in the state.

· Paid out another $422 million in prizes to players.

· Earned $79.3 million in commissions to lottery retailers.

· Recorded three Powerball jackpot wins for North Carolinians, including Jackie Alston of Halifax who won $74.5 million in November 2006; Jeff Wilson of Kings Mountain who won $88.1 million in June 2009; and Frank Griffin of Asheville who won $141.4 million in February 2010.

Comment on this Story

  • Steve

    What a farce!
    More money for the lottery administration bureaucrats and no doubt a little extra pocket money for Bev Purdue.

  • Autonomous1

    I havn’t won playing for $1 so you think I’m going to pay $2 for tickets that have the same chance of winning? First the NC scratch off tickets don’t yield enough winnings. Show us in writing your profit and loss statement and the purchase and win numbers. You have not shown the public these numbers. Increase the winnings if you think you can increase the cost of the tickets and still have buyers freaks.

  • Guest-yo

    Really? The starting jackpot of 20 million isn’t enough to get the juices flowing anymore?

    And changing the odds. With the old rules $2 gave you the odds of two in 195 million. Changing it now so that $2 gets you one in 175 million.

    Which odds are better (2 in 195,000,000) or (1 in 175,000,000)?

    I have no problem with spending a few bucks to daydream, but the changes seem unnecessary to me. I’m sure the real motivation for the increase has actually nothing to do with what players want.

  • S. Kochmaruk IV

    The beauracrats found another way to pad their wallets and jack their residents.

  • anne

    Now mom or dad can spend twice the amount of money on trying to win something instead of putting some food on the table. What a crock!!!

  • 28472

    Doubling the price of anything is big. Milk,bread,gas or what ever.
    Sounds like more money for the ones with their hands in the cookie jar to me. Or maybe Ric Flair can’t say ” whooooo” for 1/4 mil. anymore.

  • Guestfellini

    This is just a tax increase on the poor people that play the lottery, and don’t pay income tax.

  • Guest Reply

    Don’t feel bad…it’s happening all over. We found out earlier this year that the slot machines in the Las Vegas hotels “all” got tweaked to lessen the chances of people winning.
    So the way of thinking that “chance is chance” is gone with the wind now. Don’t forget…1/1/12 our NC gas prices rise 3.9999999999 cents per gallon…and you didn’t have to scratch off a thing either.

  • Marthe

    I’m going to stop playing. I spent $2 a wk to play in each drawing. I don’t want to play once a week, and I don’t want to lose $4/wk, which is what the change in cost amounts to. The odds didn’t change enough to tempt me.

  • Guest100

    is still going to be a dollar at least for now! SO you can still play the 42 per week.

  • Gary Bratcher

    NC is not helping NC win, real sale out ourvGood Old Boys

  • Guest555

    Since the tickets are going up to 2.00 does that mean the future is looking brighter for our educational system? Are the schools going to get more supplies? Are teachers going to be able to keep their jobs?

  • How does increasing the cost of a ticket increase my chance of winning, unless of course you are manipulating the picks.


    Tuition in NC universities is increasing at one of the highest rates in the country…The lottery has done nothing to help contain the costs of education…it has just provided the university system with another source of revenue to pay professors who allow grad students to teach classes to undocumented students who have lived illegally in our country for years.

    And by the way, did our tax bill decrease as promised too?


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