Powerball ticket price goes up, higher payouts anticipated

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -  The price of a Powerball ticket is going to double in 2012, but lottery officials anticipate bigger jackpots, better odds and the promise of more millionaires.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, ticket prices will increase from $1 to $2.

The added cost brings with it benefits.  Powerball's® starting jackpot is doubling to $40 million.  The overall odds and the odds of winning the jackpot are improving and will be the best offered in the game's 20 year history. More $100 million-plus jackpots are anticipated.

"We are excited about these developments and are anxious to see what our players think of the new, enhanced Powerball®," said Lottery Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea. "The positives are many, but the possibility of more millionaires is certainly an attractive element our players have asked for in the past."

With the change, those lucky enough to match five white balls will win $1 million, up from $200,000.  Add PowerPlay® and the match five white balls prize jumps to $2 million.

PowerPlay® will remain at a $1, but the multiplier is being replaced by increasing set prize amounts. In the new game, a Powerball® ticket with PowerPlay® will cost $3.

Bethea is optimistic the Powerball® changes will be well received but is not making any predictions when it comes to sales. The Lottery recognizes not all players will want to or need to spend $2 on a Powerball® ticket. Mega Millions® offers an alternative jackpot-driven game available at the $1 price point.

"Our players demand fresh products and more options," said Bethea.  "Powerball® has differentiated itself from Mega Millions®, so our players will now have a choice to make.  Whatever they decide, education is, and always will be, the real winner."

Since the start of the Lottery in 2002, more than one million college scholarships and grants have been awarded to South Carolina's students. In all, more than $2.6 BILLION has been transferred to support educational programs in the Palmetto State.