Ticket prices will increase from $1 to $2 and jackpots will start at $40 million. Lottery officials said the changes will make the game easier to win.
Lottery player Patricia Lang said she is excited about the chance to become a multimillionaire, but she is not excited about the ticket price change. "I think that is terrible. They are doing good the way it is now. I don't think that is going to be a good idea," said Lang. Others said the change is worth the tradeoff for the possibility of increased odds at winning. "I think it is great. It doesn't bother me," said Marsha Levitt.
Powerball Executive Board member Terry Rich said research on the price hike showed the change from $1 to $2 would mean more people would play the game. "We thought many of the games in the $1 category were the same between Mega Millions and Powerball so it was not a difficult decision to say, 'Let's give away more millions and make the odds better," said Rich.
Rich said the changes will also increase the number of millionaires, saying the higher price will double the starting jackpot and make the odds better as they go from 39 balls down to 35. "We think some people will enjoy the $1 price point and will continue to play Hot Lotto and Mega Millions and others will like the variety and the chance to win more millions and have better odds," said Rich.
The new $2 Powerball ticket price will start Jan. 15. Tickets in the 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, officials said.