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Powerball tickets going to $2 in January

RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– A new version of the Powerball game scheduled to begin on Jan. 15 will provide bigger jackpots and better odds of winning them.

The enhancements, approved in June by lotteries that make up the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), will result in the first price increase in tickets since the game started almost 20 years ago. Beginning Jan. 15, Powerball tickets will cost $2 each. The first Powerball drawing under the new game structure will be on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The N.C. Education Lottery is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which owns and operates Powerball. The changes apply to Powerball here as well as all lotteries offering the game. Powerball is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“To stay successful, lotteries must keep their games fresh and exciting and respond to what their players want,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “We believe those who play Powerball in North Carolina want to see bigger jackpots and prizes and want a better chance at winning them. The result of these changes should be a more popular game and consequently a better return for education in North Carolina.”

The key changes to Powerball are:

· A bigger starting jackpot. The Powerball jackpot will start at $40 million, rolling at least $10 million each time it isn’t won. Currently, the jackpot starts at $20 million.

· A larger second prize. Players who match the five white balls but not the Powerball will win $1 million, up from $200,000, and those who buy Power Play tickets for an extra dollar, a $3 buy, will win $2 million, up from $1 million.

· Better odds at winning. The odds of winning a jackpot will be one in 175 million, as opposed to the current odds of 1 in 195 million. The odds of winning a prize in the overall game will also get better, moving to 1 in 31.8, down from 1 in 35.

The better odds result from a change in the numbers that can be drawn in the game. The numbers available for the Powerball will be reduced from 39 to 35. Powerball players will still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 1 to 59.

Garland said the changes mean that the Education Lottery’s jackpot games will offer players different price points just like the collection of instant games where ticket prices range from $1 to $20.

For instance, a player who prefers a $1 ticket for a jackpot game could continue buying a $1 Mega Million ticket or a $1 Carolina Cash 5 ticket. Those who like a $2 ticket with the chance at bigger prizes could choose either a $2 Powerball ticket or a $2 Megaplier ticket in the Mega Millions game. And finally those who want to win the biggest Powerball prizes could buy a $3 Power Play ticket.

Lottery players in North Carolina have played Powerball since May 30, 2006 when it became the first jackpot game offered by the N.C. Education Lottery.

From its inception through Dec. 28, 2011, the Powerball game in North Carolina has:

· Produced total sales of $1.13 billion.

· Raised more than $453 million for the education in the state.

· Paid out another $422 million in prizes to players.

· Earned $79.3 million in commissions to lottery retailers.

· Recorded three Powerball jackpot wins for North Carolinians, including Jackie Alston of Halifax who won $74.5 million in November 2006; Jeff Wilson of Kings Mountain who won $88.1 million in June 2009; and Frank Griffin of Asheville who won $141.4 million in February 2010.

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