The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the gambling world in many ways. Over the past few days, we have watched as casino around the United States have shut down completely, including hotels and most restaurants. Now, the virus seems to have affected a portion of the lottery. The Powerball Product Group has announced that the minimum jackpot will not be set for $20 million, instead of the usual $40 million. As lottery ticket sales are slowing down, the jackpots are shrinking, which means the normal prizes will decrease as well.
With the jackpot minimum moving from $40 million to $20 million, the prize will increase by $2 million each week as it is not won instead of the traditional $10 million. Players are not getting out like they normally would due to the virus, so a decrease in ticket purchases has been seen.
Chairman of the Powerball Product Group and Maine Lottery director, Gregory Mineo, commented on the change by stating that many of the players located in the lottery jurisdictions are under shelter-in-place orders. This will affect the normal behavior of a consumer.
Like other businesses are making adjustments, so is the lottery. Proactive changes are being made to continue to offer the lottery product as the environment changes.
Mega Millions Change?
Along with the Powerball, the Mega Millions is also considering changing their jackpot minimums. However, the game already has a minimum increase of $5 million after a drawing, which is already lower than the Powerball’s original $10 million.
Head of the Maryland lottery and director of Mega Millions, Gordon Medencia, commented: “The Mega Millions Consortium has begun internal discussions about potential changes to address the slowdown in sales during the current health crisis.”
Recent Launch in Mississippi:
The decision to change the Powerball and possibly Mega Millions jackpot totals come at a time when the state of Mississippi just started offering the games. Back in late January, the Mississippi Lottery Corporation announced that players in the state could enjoy both games via the state lottery. Around 1,500 locations would be offering the games.
Ticket sales in Mississippi, as well as other states across the US, should be going down if they haven’t already due to everyone staying home. The coronavirus is highly contagious and by staying away from others and practicing social distancing, the hope is that the virus will not spread as quickly and eventually die away. Stores that sell the lottery tickets may be closed or seeing fewer customers due to the decision to stay home by patrons.