Ticket sales are brisk in Nebraska as the Powerball jackpot has pushed to an estimated record $600-million after no winning tickets were sold for Wednesday’s drawing. It’s the largest jackpot in the Powerball’s 21-year history and is the world’s second-biggest.
Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says a number that big grabs everyone’s attention.
“When the jackpot gets to this level, it just becomes that thing that everybody’s talking about. Everybody wants a shot at it, so now we see not only regular players buying tickets, but occasional players and first-time players jumping in,” Neubauer says.
A previous record Powerball jackpot of $587-million was won in November. Neubauer says the switch from a one-dollar to a two-dollar ticket for Powerball has helped create bigger jackpots more often.
“It’s all designed to keep delivering those big jackpots, but also the chance to win other sizable prizes as well,” according to Neubauer. “So, we’re always looking at ways to maybe tweak the game and change the game to make it better, because over time people don’t want the same old thing, they want the opportunity to try for something that is maybe a little different or new, so we’re always looking at that to see what we can do.”
Another thing that’s helped push the jackpots up is the addition of California — the country’s most populated state — to the game. Neubauer says there’s a mistaken view that a bigger state has better odds of having the winning numbers.
“I’ve heard some people saying ‘Oh well now that that California is in we don’t stand a chance, nobody else is ever going to win,’ but in fact the odds in Powerball haven’t change. The odds of winning the jackpot are still the same now that were before California is in,” Neubauer says. “And it goes back to that concept of why Powerball started in the first place. With with more states playing the game, the jackpot grows more quickly, and gets bigger faster. And that’s ultimately what people want from Powerball.”
Neubauer cautions players to keep cool: “It just takes one ticket to win, you don’t have to buy two, five, 10, you just have to buy one to get in on the fun. Don’t count on winning, just do it for fun,” she advises. Neubauer says the fun is dreaming what you might do with the money if you do win.