After the April 8 drawing, the national Powerball game will base the amount of the jackpot and the amount the jackpot increases between draws on ticket sales and interest rates.
The changes, announced Thursday by the national group that oversees the Powerball games, mean the game will not have a guaranteed starting jackpot or a guaranteed increase between drawings and come amidst a decline in Powerball sales as the coronavirus disrupts the nation’s economy.
“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes,” said Gregg Mineo, director of the Maine Lottery and chair of the Powerball Product Group, in a statement. “Our No. 1 priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries.”
The group had announced plans last week to reduce the starting jackpot to $20 million, as an annuity, and minimum jackpot increases to $2 million in the annuity prize between drawings. Those changes were scheduled to go into effect after the current jackpot was won.
“Since last week, more states and cities have asked their residents to stay at home, which has affected normal consumer behaviors and Powerball game sales,” said Mineo. “In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”
The advertised Powerball jackpot for Saturday’s drawing is a guaranteed $180 million. If the jackpot rolls, it will grow to a guaranteed $190 million for the April 8 drawing. If the jackpot is won on Saturday night, it will reset to a guaranteed $20 million for the April 8 drawing. Then, under the new game rules, the starting jackpot and increases in the jackpot between drawings will be determined based on ticket sales and interest rates.
Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are broadcast live every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m.