Powerball to Change Jackpot Odds

Changes to the multi-state Powerball lottery will greatly reduce the chances for hitting to main jackpot, but increase to amount of overall winners in the long run, lottery officials have announced. The change also means that Powerball could see a $1 billion jackpot in the future.

The chances of winning the Powerball jackpot were already incredibly remote, but now they’ve gotten even longer.

Proposed changes to the multi-state lottery would drop the odds of winning from 1 in 175,223,510 to 1 in 292,201,338.

The New York Gaming Commission, which oversees the Multi-State Lottery Association is changing the odds of winning the lottery to raise more revenues.

The change comes by increasing the pool of numbers players can pick. Powerball players currently pick from two fields of numbers. There are 59 numbers in the first field, and 35 in the second, but that will be changing to 69 in the first field and 26 in the second.

That change affects all jackpots. For example, the probability of winning a $1 million payout will drop from 1 in 5.1 million to 1 in 11.7 million, dropping the expected number of $1 million winners per drawing from 38 to 25.

“The proposed rule is intended to increase the odds of winning any prize while decreasing the odds to win the jackpot,” Robert Williams, executive director of the state Gaming Commission, told Lohud.com.

The odds of winning the small $4 prize, for example, will go up from 1 in 111 to 1 in 92. Overall, your chances of winning any prize will improve from 1 in 32 to about 1 in 25.

The Gaming Commission approved the changes to keep New York part of the multistate Powerball system.

“Without these rules changes, the Lottery Division would need to remove the Powerball game from its portfolio of offerings and aid to education would be negatively affected,” the Gaming Commission wrote in a press statement.

Powerball sales were down 19 percent nationally and 44 percent in New York last year. The decline is traced to “jackpot fatigue,” where larger and larger jackpots are needed to entice players.

Since the amount of jackpot wins will go down under the new system, the chances of bigger jackpots—including one that breaks the $1 billion mark—should increase substantially.

The changes are scheduled to go into effect on October 4 for the October 7 Powerball drawing assuming the other states in Powerball approve the changes.