The lottery, including the online lottery in Pennsylvania, is still running amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. However, Powerball, one of the two popular multi-state draw games, announced a dramatic change to its jackpot sizes after sales have dropped in recent days.
The Powerball Product Group announced Wednesday that it will cut in half its minimum annuity jackpot size from $40 million to $20 million. It was done to “ensure the game continues,” a presser said. The minimum increase between drawings will now be $2 million, down from $10 million.
The change doesn’t affect Saturday’s estimated $160 million Powerball drawing. Pennsylvanians can vie for that prize without leaving their home. A handful of states allow online ticket purchases. Powerball is played in 48 jurisdictions in the U.S., and many essential businesses that are still open sell paper tickets.
Earlier this week, a Georgia online lottery player won $2 million in the March 25 Powerball drawing.
“Powerball players in many U.S. lottery jurisdictions are under shelter-in-place orders or recommendations from their governors or mayors, which have affected normal consumer behaviors,” said Gregory Mineo, Powerball Product Group Chairman and Maine Lottery Director. “Just like other enterprises around the world that are making adjustments, we are making proactive changes to continue to offer the world’s premier lottery product.”
Mineo added that Powerball is “committed” to offering “support to our loyal players during this unprecedented time.” Many states have closed their respective brick-and-mortar claims centers, but lottery players typically have up to a year to claim a winning Powerball ticket.
The other multi-state lottery game that awards mind-boggling jackpots, Mega Millions, had a $107 million drawing slated for Friday night. The Mega Millions Group hasn’t made any changes yet to its jackpot sizes. Mega Millions is considering a similar move to slash its minimum jackpots.
Mega Millions has minimum $5 million increases between drawings.
Drawings for Mega Millions are held in Atlanta, Georgia, while Powerball drawings happen in Tallahassee, Florida. Both states have so far resisted full-blown lockdowns.
Tickets to the games cost $2.