How Will The $1.5 Billion Powerball Prize Change The Lottery?

May 29, 2016

In January 2016, the US Powerball Lottery jackpot grew to an unprecedented $1.5 billion, attracting some 10 million extra players along the way. This is likely to have an effect on who plays this and other big draws worldwide.

On 13th January 2016, the largest lottery jackpot in history was claimed by 3 tickets. With a total value of $1.586 billion, each was worth $187.2 million after Federal taxes. Such huge payouts have attracted a lot of attention, both in the run up to the win, and in the months since.

This could lead to some long-term changes in who plays in the future, with more people aware of the Powerball game and its' potential for massive rewards.

10 Million Extra Players

Research company Ledger has studied the effects of this jackpot and released statistics about the impact it had on ticket sales. The extensive news coverage led to around 88% of all US adults being aware of the prize, with the breakdown of the demographics following a general pattern of who plays the Powerball. Residents of the Midwest and Northeastern states are statistically the most likely to play Powerball, especially the older generations, although the January jackpot attracted extra people from all 44 states where it's run.

Many of these new players were women, who are often casual gamblers and were willing to risk $2 to enter.

Most people saw at least one related news story on TV and these appeared to have given people positive thoughts about the game, as they heard about how much they could win, and what they could do with all that money. There's also the 'good causes' aspect which raises positive feelings. Although 50% of the total value of tickets sold goes to prizes, 10% goes to the retailers, and 40% is put towards education or other social programs.

With more players, the jackpot rises more quickly, and this in turn attracts even more people. This has been seen in previous big draws, where once the prize level gets to around $300 million, media and public interest brings in an ever increasing number of players. An estimated 48% of players however, only enter the game once the jackpot has rolled over to $500 million or more, while an additional 22% of players only bought tickets when it hit $1 billion.

This suggests that people who don't normally play are now choosing to wait longer before buying tickets and the January jackpot confirmed this trend, with an additional 22%, or 10 million new players for the final draw.

The Future Trends

Time will tell what the lasting effects will be, but research suggests that a significant number of people intend playing more often, with around 50% of households earning $100,000+ saying that they will be more likely to play the lottery in future, but just one in three sub-$35,000 households looking to play more.

It's not just the Powerball that could benefit from this increased awareness, as any publicity about one type of gambling can get people thinking about other forms, such as casino or online bets.