Press Room

Reminder: $2 Powerball® Debuts Sunday, Starting Jackpots Will Double, Better Overall Odds Of Winning, More Millionaires

Enriched $2 Game Will Give Players More Choice In Lotto Games

DES MOINES, Iowa - Sunday will mark the debut of $2 Powerball, with the revamped game sporting several new features to give players more value. As of that day, Powerball jackpots will start at $40 million and the jackpot will be easier to win. The overall odds of winning any prize also will be easier, and there will be more chances to win a prize of at least $1 million cash.

"Powerball has been redesigned several times over the years to continue to deliver the big jackpots people expect, but also give players the chance to win other significant prizes as well," Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. "Our latest changes continue that trend by making several new features possible."

Since getting its start in April 1992 in 15 states with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million, Powerball has grown into one of the world's biggest and most recognizable lottery games. Today it's played in 44 jurisdictions across the nation, with players buying more than $3 billion annually in Powerball tickets. And the biggest jackpot in the game so far was a $365 million prize split by eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant in February 2006.

But with that success comes a demand for innovation to keep things fresh. Rich said the latest changes will help give players choices when it comes to lotto games and differentiate Powerball from other games. The Mega Millions® and Hot Lotto® jackpot games and other in-state lotto games will still be available for those players who prefer the $1 level of play, he said.

"With these changes, U.S. lotteries are following the same successful business model they've used for years with instant-scratch and pull-tab games by offering various tickets at different price points," Rich said. "We're responding to consumers who have let us know that they like variety and choice."

U.S. lottery directors approved the upcoming changes to the game in June 2011 following national research involving 5,000 participants over two years. The initial announcement about the changes was made in June.

Tickets in the enriched game will cost $2 and the Power Play® multiplier feature will still be available for an extra $1 per play. For that extra $1, players have the chance to win prizes up to $2 million cash for the match 5 prize.

Players in the newly designed game will still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 59. But the group of numbers in the Powerball pool will shrink from 39 to 35, producing better overall odds of winning a prize in the game. Players today have a 1 in 35 overall chance of winning, which will improve to 1 in 31.8 in the revamped game. The Powerball jackpots will start at $40 million, double the current starting jackpot of $20 million.

The $2 Powerball game will still offer players nine ways to win prizes, with its second prize moving up to $1 million in cash from the current $200,000, and the lowest prize level (for those who match just the Powerball) being elevated to $4 from $3. Powerball drawings will continue to be held at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.