Powerball Sets Another Record - Saturday 15th of April 2006
UNITED STATES – Just when it seemed as if thePowerball game had broken all records, yet another milestone has been setwith the current jackpot of $220 million: It's the first time twoconsecutive jackpots have surpassed $200 million.
The staggering $220 million jackpot for tomorrow night's drawingfollows the last record-setter of $365 million, won in February by a groupof eight third-shift workers at a meat-packing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The last time two big jackpots paired up was in 2003, when consecutivejackpots over $100 million were won. The first jackpot won was on August30, 2003 by a player in New Hampshire for a $135 million jackpot. That wasfollowed by a $191 million jackpot won on October 25, 2003 and split bytickets sold in Indiana and Minnesota.
In the past year, the Powerball jackpot has reached $200 million ormore ten times. According to the Chairman of the Powerball Group and theDirector of the West Virginia Lottery, John Musgrave, the high jackpotshave been mostly due to the luck of the draw.
"The Powerball game was changed in August of 2005 and the new designpredicted that the jackpot would be above $200 million four or five timesper year," said Musgrave. "Lotto games runs on averages and Powerball ishaving an extraordinary year."
Jackpots are also climbing faster than ever before.
"It normally takes 12 or more draws to reach a jackpot of $100 million,but the current run went past $100 million in just nine draws," saidMusgrave.
The current string of drawings has also shaved a week (two draws) offthe race to $200 million passing that number in 15 draws.
"The game change really caught on," said Musgrave, who is also theActing Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Revenue. "Wedoubled some low-tier prizes; we were able to create a new Match 5 Bonusprize level twice and we also ran the 10X promotion that let winnersmultiply their prizes ten times."
Last October, the Powerball game was changed to increase the odds ofhitting the jackpot, but the game also doubled the prizes for matching fivenumbers to $200,000 and for matching four numbers to $10,000. In addition,a new prize level, called the Match 5 Bonus prize, went into effect, payinga special cash prize pool of $19.6 million to qualifying winners onFebruary 16, 2006 and a larger cash pool of $32 million shared by 49players last October. The PowerPlay 10X promotion allowed winners whobought the PowerPlay option the chance to multiply their prizes by tentimes during all of last month.
Sales in the Powerball game passed the previous year's sales of nearly$2 billion ($1,974,015,851) after just eight months of the current fiscalyear which began July 1, 2005.
"Higher sales means more money for the benefits designated by eachstate for lottery profits," said Musgrave.
Lawmakers in each lottery jurisdiction determine how it will spendlottery profits. Common benefit programs are to support education,environment, economic development, and programs to aid senior citizens.
Since the game's first drawing on April 22, 1992, POWERBALL(R) hasgiven away an estimated $6.5 billion dollars in jackpot winnings to over200 instant millionaires. The game also has the distinction of awardingover half of the world's 20 highest lottery jackpots.
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