Jan. 28, 2014 – More than two years ago, the price of a Powerball ticket jumped from $1 to $2 in order to provide bigger prizes. At the time, Multi-State Lottery officials estimated the new rules – which introduced the $1 million second prize – would make about 300 millionaires each year.
In a report released this week, it turns out that estimate was more than a bit too low. Over the past two years, 1,013 Powerball players have scored the $1 million second prize, a little more than 500 winners each year.
Since the rules and prize structure for Powerball changed with the Jan. 15, 2012 drawing, there have been an average of nine second prize winners each week.
Even if none of those players added the Power Play option to their tickets, which until last Wednesday was a fixed multiplier, all those second prizes would be worth one billion thirteen million dollars.
Written on one (really giant) check, that would look like this: $1,013,000,000.
The past two years have been record-breaking as well as better-than-expected for more than 1,000 new millionaires. Since Powerball changed in 2012, all of the nation’s top five record jackpots have been replaced by post-2012 jackpots.
Just one Powerball jackpot from before the change remains among Powerball’s top five records – a $365 million prize won in Nebraska in 2006.
And, in 2013 alone, there were four jackpots worth more than $330 million, including the highest-ever, $590.5 million Powerball jackpot won by 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie in Zephyrhills, Fla.
So, with Powerball being tweaked again for 2014, remember that Power Play costs just an extra buck, but could multiply your prize as many as five times its normal value.