If you are a frequent player of the Powerball or MegaMillions lottery games, you may have noticed something strange of late — much smaller jackpots have been seen for the United States’ biggest lottery games. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused sales for the popular lottery draw games to take a big hit as states issue “stay at home” orders.
As a result of slumping sales, there have been new guidelines set for minimum jackpots as well as increases in the jackpots.
Instead of a $40 million minimum prize for Powerball, actual game sales and interest rates will be used to determine the size of the jackpot. This change is after previous guidance was made which said the jackpot minimum would be decreasing to $20 million. Estimated prizes will still be posted prior to the draw with actual figures released after the drawing.
Gregg Mineo, the Powerball Product Gropu Chairman said the following of the decision in early April: “Since last week, more states and cities have asked their residents to stay at home, which has affected normal consumer behaviors and Powerball game sales. In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”
MegaMillions will also see a minimum jackpot decline
The Mega Millions progressive jackpot drawing has also taken similar steps. After the next jackpot win, the Mega Millions will reset to $20 million with subsequent starting jackpots and increases based on actual sales and interest.
At the time of this writing, Mega Millions players have not yet seen the decrease as the jackpot has not been hit since the changes were announced. The Mega Millions currently sits at a $159 million jackpot ahead of Friday’s drawing at 11 PM ET.
Powerball and Mega Millions tickets now available for purchases online
Despite the smaller jackpots at Powerball and Mega Millions, there is some good news for Pennsylvania players — beginning in January you could begin to purchase your tickets online from the safety of your own home.
All you need is a PA iLottery account which you can register for today. Add funds to your account to purchase Mega Millions and Powerball tickets online in PA for up to the next 26 drawings. You can select your own numbers, do a Quick Pick or a combination of the two.
Don’t have an account? Sign-up for one here.