Mega Millions And Powerball Make Even More Coronavirus-Related Changes

Posted on April 8, 2020 - Last Updated on April 10, 2020

The Powerball jackpot currently stands at $190 million, but don’t expect it to grow any bigger very quickly. After tonight’s drawing, more lottery changes could take effect.

Mega Millions announced it is mirroring decisions Powerball made earlier this month. The changes could cut the value of jackpots tremendously but ensure the games remain viable during the current climate as well.

New lotto jackpots will be based interest rate and ticket sales

On April 2, Powerball announced it was deviating even further from its norm. Instead of starting jackpots out at $20 million and increasing them by $2 million on each roll, those amounts will now be determined based on two factors.

Those two factors are interest rates and ticket sales. Tickets will continue to cost $2.

That news came about a week after Powerball announced a primary reduction of the guaranteed starting jackpot from $40 million and roll increases from $10 million. The secondary reduction should last longer.

On April 3, Mega Millions did essentially the same thing as Powerball. It also announced that it would be setting jackpots and roll increases based on the same two factors.

These changes won’t take effect until after someone wins the current jackpots, however. Currently, Mega Millions sits at $136 million.

Should no one win the Powerball drawings on April 8 or the Mega Millions drawing on April 10, the jackpots will continue to increase by the normal amounts of $10 million and $5 million respectively. When a lucky person claims both/either prize(s), however, the jackpot(s) will reset to $20 million.

Going forward, if the jackpots that start at $20 million go unclaimed, the administrators of the games will determine the value of any roll increases. The same goes for any subsequent starting jackpots.

Mega Millions and Powerball aren’t immune to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s what’s driving these changes.

Why did Mega Millions and Powerball make these alterations now?

Powerball Product Group Chairman Gregg Mineo summed it up pretty clearly. It’s all about the amount of action that Lottery retailers across the country are seeing right now.

“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes. Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries. 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. In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”

Lead Director of the Mega Millions Consortium Gordon Medenica, echoed Mineo’s sentiments:

“The value of the Mega Millions jackpot is based on projected sales, and typical sales patterns have been altered because the current health crisis has required people to stay home. We are concerned, first and foremost, with everyone’s health and well-being. Meanwhile, these adjustments will allow the states and jurisdictions that sell Mega Millions tickets to continue generating much-needed revenue to support state budgets.”

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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