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November 28, 2012

Record Powerball result of changes to boost sales

DES MOINES, Iowa — The historic Powerball jackpot boosted to $500 million on Tuesday was all part of a plan lottery officials put in place early this year to build jackpots faster, drive sales and generate more money for states that run the game.

Their plan appears to be working.

Powerball tickets doubled in price in January to $2, and while the number of tickets sold initially dropped, sales revenue has increased by about 35 percent over 2011.

Sales for Powerball reached a record $3.96 billion in fiscal 2012 and are expected to reach $5 billion this year, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association.

There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. It was first posted at $425 million but revised upward to $500 million when brisk sales increased the payout. It’s the second highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March.

It took nine weeks for the Mega Millions jackpot to get that high, before three winners — from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland — hit the right numbers, each collecting $218.6 million for their share of the split.

With soaring jackpots come soaring sales, and for the states playing the game, that means higher revenue.

“The purpose for the lottery is to generate revenue for the respective states and their beneficiary programs,” said Norm Lingle, chairman of the Powerball Game Group. “High jackpots certainly help the lottery achieve those goals.”

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