POLL: Last chances for $1 Powerball

January 11, 2012 6:34:53 AM PST
This week's drawings for the Powerball jackpot will be the last times you can play Powerball for just $1.

Starting Sunday January 15, 2012, Powerball will undergo changes that its organizers say will lead to bigger jackpots with better odds of winning.

Base ticket prices double from $1 to $2. For the increase, officials with Powerball say there are some new twists:
The starting jackpot jumps $20 million to $40 million
Each time a jackpot isn't won, it will increase by a $10 million minimum
Odds of winning the jackpot will improve from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million
The odds of winning any size prize will improve from 1 in 35 to 1 in 32
The Match-5 prize (If you pick all the winning numbers but miss the Powerball) will increase from $200,000 to $1 million.
The prize if you pick only the Powerball number will increase from $3 to $4.

The main reason the odds of winning is getting better is because the amount of possible red Powerballs is being reduced. For the last Powerball drawing, players must pick a Powerball number between 1 and 39. Starting January 15, players will pick a Powerball number between 1 and 35.

The number of white balls selected in the drawing remains the same: 59.

The Multi-State Lottery Association will keep the Mega Millions ticket prices at $1, and says the move is a strategy to differentiate Powerball and Mega Millions. Both games are sold in 42 states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. Both have drawings twice a week but are played on different nights.

You can see Powerball drawings Monday and Saturday during Action News at 11. You can see the Mega Millions drawings Tuesday and Friday nights during Action News at 11.