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Streak of jackpot winners is bad luck for Powerball lottery sales

PowerballPowerball: Streak of jackpot winners is bad luck for Powerball lottery sales

Sales of Powerball lottery tickets across the nation are down drastically in recent months.  The reason: People are too frequently beating the odds, which happen to be 1 in 120.5 million.

In the past 12 weeks, players have won a record five Powerball jackpots, none larger than a mere $41 million.

The streak of luck has meant the jackpots don't roll over enough times to build the huge prizes of $100 million or more.  It's those giant amounts that bring out the lines of people who don't normally play and send ticket sales through the roof.

"The game is getting hit way too often," said Joe Willingham, marketing director for the South Dakota Lottery.

It's a difference of more than $3 million for South Dakota's state treasury so far this fiscal year.

Nationally, Powerball sales are off an average of 20 percent from one year ago, according to Chuck Strutt, executive director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, the organization that administers Powerball and several other lotto numbers games.

"Everybody is down," Strutt said Monday in an interview.  "I guess that says people would rather dream of winning than actually winning."

Twenty-seven states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands comprise MUSL.  The sales decline ranges from 12 to 30 percent, he said.

Since July 1 there have been 11 jackpots hit.

There were only 11 hit during the entire preceding 12 months from mid-2003 through June 30, 2004, and four of those ranged from $191 million to $261 million.

Powerball sales in South Dakota are down 27 percent compared to a similar point in 2004.  For the 2005 fiscal year that began July 1, sales total $7.7 million, a decline of $3.1 million.

Oddly, sales are up in the state for the three other numbers games - Dakota Cash, Hot Lotto and Wild Card - by 9.8 to 36 percent.  But because Powerball sales represent three-fourths of all lotto sales in South Dakota, the lottery's total sales are down 17 percent.

One thing to keep in mind is that Powerball sales were extremely strong in 2003 through much of 2004.  MUSL's Strutt said the current downturn is about 10 percent from normal.

Among South Dakota's neighboring states, Wyoming is the only one that doesn't offer Powerball.  North Dakota began selling Powerball tickets last March 25.

"North Dakota has had an effect for specific retailers," lottery spokesman Mike Mueller said.  "Our retailers in towns close to the border have experienced anywhere from 20 percent to 80 percent declines since North Dakota started selling."

But, he added, the effect is "negligible" on total sales because most of South Dakota's sales are in more-populated areas elsewhere in the state.

"We originally estimated that North Dakota could have a 1.5 percent to 2 percent impact on sales.  What is making it tough to gauge is we had our best lotto sales year in a decade last year, and our sales would be down this year anyway with our lack of big Powerball jackpot runs," Mueller said.

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39 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
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Avatar
Oregon
United States
Member #11764
February 23, 2005
46 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 16, 2005, 12:02 pm - IP Logged

When are they going to change the matrix already? Sheesh. We need a more decent person than Jack Whittaker to hold the honor of largest jackpot winner, and at this pace it doesn't look like that's going to happen soon.

    Avatar
    Redmond WA
    United States
    Member #5966
    July 29, 2004
    71 Posts
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    Posted: March 16, 2005, 1:12 pm - IP Logged

     

    I have heard that in July 05 they will be making matrix changes.

    What the changes will be to the matrix Im not sure.

     So stay tuned and maybe you will win the jackpot by then and you

     won't have to wonder what they will do with the matrix.

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #972
      December 30, 2002
      465 Posts
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      Posted: March 16, 2005, 2:18 pm - IP Logged

      The article seems to be saying that ticket sales are down 20%, but at the same time there have been more winners than usual.  If that's the case, then it really is luck, so it doesn't follow that they must increase the odds when the amount of winners are against the odds as it is.

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        19831 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 16, 2005, 2:31 pm - IP Logged
        Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on March 16, 2005



        If that's the case, then it really is luck, so it doesn't follow that they must increase the odds 






        Lucky for who?  The States didn't create the lotteries for J.Q. Public to get lucky, when J.Q.P. is getting luckier than the States, it time to change odds.

        RJOh

         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
           
                     Evil Looking       

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #972
          December 30, 2002
          465 Posts
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          Posted: March 16, 2005, 2:48 pm - IP Logged

          Well, lucky for the winners obviously, but I also meant just random chance. If states are going to have a game that isn't rigged, streaks of both winning and not winning go with the territory.  I don't think JQP is luckier than the states - even if there was a winner every time, there would be millions of losers out there, but the states make money on even the lowest of jackpots.

          Quote: Originally posted by RJOh on March 16, 2005






          Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on March 16, 2005



          If that's the case, then it really is luck, so it doesn't follow that they must increase the odds 






          Lucky for who?  The States didn't create the lotteries for J.Q. Public to get lucky, when J.Q.P. is getting luckier than the States, it time to change odds.

          RJOh




            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #1
            May 31, 2000
            23275 Posts
            Online
            Posted: March 16, 2005, 3:25 pm - IP Logged

            tg636:  The states make much less money when the jackpots stay small.  Sure, they make money, but less than what big multi-state games are supposed to make.  In that case, as RJOh said, it's time to change things up.

            If you're looking for a lotto game that has frequent winners, that's what your state's Pick 6 game is for.  The big multi-state games are there to have big rollovers and big jackpots.

             

            Check the State Lottery Report Card
            What grade did your lottery earn?

             

            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
            Help eliminate computerized drawings!

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #972
              December 30, 2002
              465 Posts
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              Posted: March 16, 2005, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

              I understand that. I like thinking about the possibilities of having $300 million after taxes as much as anyone.  If the jackpot makes it way up there, very exciting. But at the same time, I think $10 - 40 million is a huge amount of money as well, so I am okay with seeing someone win that, especially beating 120 million to 1 odds to do it. As for the states making less than expected, unless you work for the lottery or state, it's hard to be sympathetic toward them. 

              Quote: Originally posted by Todd on March 16, 2005







              tg636:  The states make much less money when the jackpots stay small.  Sure, they make money, but less than what big multi-state games are supposed to make.  In that case, as RJOh said, it's time to change things up.

              If you're looking for a lotto game that has frequent winners, that's what your state's Pick 6 game is for.  The big multi-state games are there to have big rollovers and big jackpots.




                Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
                FEMA Region V Camp #21
                United States
                Member #520
                July 27, 2002
                5699 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 16, 2005, 4:41 pm - IP Logged

                Easy solution for these cry babies.  Have a pick 3,4 game.  It's the most popular game in the country and you automatically get 50% on all sales daily.  The payoff to odds ratio is the best any state lottery has to offer so the player goes for it.  IL has had a daily pick 3 game since 1972 and hasn't had to change the payoff to odds ratio or "matrix" once (except for their bonus draws), so they must still be making money.  33 years of success.  The jackpot games are changing their matrices like underwear.  Why?

                To base your State lottery program on a very fickle jackpot game is foolish.  And one more point, why would anyone risk more money on PB or MM just because the jackpot is high?  Your odds are still the same minus the number of tickets you bought.

                What are you going to do with all that money if you do win a half-billion $ jackpot?  Handling your money would become your full time job, 24/7.  You thought you were going to retire???  As we've seen in the news lately, winning a multi-million dollar jackpot is not necessarily a good thing.  90% of them are worse off then they were before.  The hassles wouldn't be worth the pay-off.

                I'll stick with the pick-5 and anonymity and with odds two hundred  forty TIMES easier to win.

                Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                  RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                  mid-Ohio
                  United States
                  Member #9
                  March 24, 2001
                  19831 Posts
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                  Posted: March 16, 2005, 5:16 pm - IP Logged

                  Quote: Originally posted by Rick G on March 16, 2005



                  What are you going to do with all that money if you do win a half-billion $ jackpot? 





                  With the rules that PowerBall have when the jackpot exceeds the previous record, I doubt it will ever have a half billion dollars jackpot.  At that point the second prize value increase. Multi-States lotteries aren't trying to attract those core players who will buy a lottery ticket to win $500-$4M, but those players who never think about any lottery until they hear $100M+ jackpot. If they aren't interested by the time the jackpot is $200M, a half billion isn't going to make much of a different.

                  RJOh

                   * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                     
                               Evil Looking       

                    MillionsWanted's avatar - 24Qa6LT

                    Norway
                    Member #9517
                    December 10, 2004
                    1272 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: March 16, 2005, 5:23 pm - IP Logged

                    People must be spoiled thinking that $ 10-40 million is not enough to be interested in buying tickets.


                      United States
                      Member #379
                      June 5, 2002
                      11296 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 16, 2005, 5:32 pm - IP Logged

                      At least South Dakota (where the article was about), six other states and DC have Hot Lotto.

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #11562
                        February 17, 2005
                        24 Posts
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                        Posted: March 16, 2005, 6:08 pm - IP Logged

                        Admittedly I'm not fluent in Lotterese. I take it that a "matrix" change would entail the drop of a few more white balls into the chute and the subsequent increase of odds - say maybe 1 in 150 million. Well hey I'll take that! It's too boring to drive by a convenience store and see the familiar powerball signs reading 10 million . . boooring!

                          Avatar
                          Milwaukee, WI
                          United States
                          Member #3131
                          December 27, 2003
                          665 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 16, 2005, 10:01 pm - IP Logged

                          I have the choice of playing many games right now....

                          (near the Wis-Illinois border)



                          Wis Megabucks..... $2.1 Million    1:7Mill odds

                          Powerball................ $18 Million    1:120 Million odds

                          Mega Millions.......... $36 Million    1:135 Mill odds...



                          And now



                          Illinois Lotto ........... $25 Million.... 1:10 million odds....



                          It makes Illinois Lotto 15x Better than Powerball and last week when Powerball was smaller Illinois Lotto was somthing like 27x plus better than powerball....



                          I did put a couple of bucks on the other games, but I dropped $20 bucks this week on Ill Lotto.....



                          The simple formula I use is that I take the cash amount and divide it by the odds...



                          The numbers for tonight...

                          It's not exact but gives a good guide.....



                          #1 Illinois lotto= 1.2525

                          #2 Wis Supercash= .2567      (pays nothing for 2 or 3 matches but everybody gets $250k)

                          #3 Illinois Little Lotto= .1737    (pays on 2 matches)

                          #4 Wis Megabucks= .1652    (sits at 1 mil for a month before increasing)

                          #5 Mega Millions=.1554

                          #6 Wis Badger 5= .0942 (was #2 last night) (pays on 2 matches)

                          #7 Powerball=   .0830



                          I created a spreadsheet that gives me all the data on these lottos...

                          Watching them on a daily basis becomes interesting...



                          MarkP

                            dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

                            United States
                            Member #2338
                            September 17, 2003
                            2063 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 16, 2005, 10:27 pm - IP Logged

                            Wow who would have though that low jackpots would equal low sales. You would think that people running these games sometimes slept through economics classes.

                            One would only hope that they change powerball. Perhaps follow my advice and make a game that comes close to or just over the 1:200 million mark. It's clear that the current game doesn't work if the purpose is to actually sell tickets and make participating states money.