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Powerball Forced to Cut Jackpots in Half as Coronavirus Dampens Sales

If you had hopes of winning it big in an attempt to break free from economic hardship caused by COVID-19, you might want to think again.

Coronavirus Has Been Affecting Lottery Sales

Jackpots are starting to shrink, facing their own financial hardships as coronavirus starts to tamp down lottery sales.

Sales have been decreasing as people lose employment and are being more careful with the money they spend. Although most coronavirus cases are mild, for some it can prove deadly. This is especially true if they’re older or have existing health issues. That uncertainty is making people much more cautious.

Considering most lottery tickets can’t be purchased by using cellphones, people have been more reluctant to go out to shops that offer them.

Powerball Announces that $40 Million Jackpot Will Be Cut to $20 Million

On Wednesday night, the Powerball game announced that it would cut minimum jackpots in half. This will bring their $40 million prize down to $20 million, after a winner claims their current big jackpot.

That jackpot is valued at $160 million. It will continue to rise by at least $10 million until a winner is found.

It is expected that the next jackpot will grow more slowly than usual. This is thanks to minimum increases of $2 million as opposed to the normal $10 million after the drawings that happen twice-weekly.

Related: Coronavirus Causes Lottery Centers to Shut Down, Ticket Sales Drop and More News

However, the odds of winning the jackpot won’t change. The current odds for Powerball are one in 292.2 million.

Gregory Mineo, the chairman of the Powerball Product Group said, “Powerball players in many U.S. lottery jurisdictions are under shelter-in-place orders or recommendations from their governors or mayors, which have affected normal consumer behaviors.”

“Just like other enterprises around the world that are making adjustments, we are making proactive changes to continue to offer the world’s premier lottery product,” Mineo continued.

Mega Millions Is Considering a Similar Move

Gordon Medenica, who is the director of Mega Millions, said that discussions are underway to do something similar with their own lottery.

“The Mega Millions Consortium has begun internal discussions about potential changes to address the slowdown in sales during the current health crisis.”

He did note, however, that the minimum increase for Mega Millions is $5 million after each drawing. This leaves them in a better position than Powerball when it comes to weathering decreased sales.

Related: All Lottery Locations Closing, But Some Are Calling it An “Essential” Service

The odds for Mega Millions also isn’t expected to change, which are currently one in 302.6 million.

Both Mega Millions and Powerball are played across 45 states, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. Powerball is also available in Puerto Rico.

Marion Prince

Marion Prince

If Marion Price ever won the lottery, she’d accept the winnings anonymously, hire a lawyer right away, and live modestly on the interest payments from her lump-sum payment. Not that she has a plan or anything…

She finds the stories of lotto winners fascinating—especially those rags-to-riches-to-rags again stories of winners who had it all and then lost everything.

When she’s not researching tales of winners and losers for HowTheLuck, Marion enjoys horseback riding and hiking.

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