March 27, 2020 3 min read


Powerball Cuts the Jackpot in Half, COVID-19 Strikes the Lottery

The outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the lotteries – Powerball and Mega Millions are taking action due to reduced sales.

Powerball Lottery to Reduce the Jackpots by Half as Soon as the Current Prize is Won

The announcement came on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that the Powerball game would reduce its minimum jackpots in half from $40 million to $20 million.

This was announced by the Multi-State Lottery Association and the change will be effective as soon as the current jackpot of $160 million is won. It is also expected that the growth of the jackpot will be reduced from $10 million to $2 million after each drawing, causing a slower growth of the prize.

Powerball is not alone in this endeavor. Mega Millions, which is the other US lottery game, will be taking similar actions.

Gordon Medica, head of the Maryland lottery and director of the game, said: “The Mega Millions Consortium has begun internal discussions about potential changes to address the slowdown in sales during the current health crisis”.

Both games are played in 45 states and also the US Virgin Islands and Washington DC. Powerball takes a step ahead and is also played in Puerto Rico.

Chances of winning the lottery and the lucky few who did

Even if both games reduce the increase of the jackpot, the chances of winning still remain slim. The chance of winning the jackpot for Mega Millions is one in 302.6 million, while for the Powerball – it is one in 292.2 million.

Although chances are slim, one simply cannot forget the 2018 anonymous single ticket winner from South Carolina. The lucky chap won the mind-blowing prize of $1.537 billion from Mega Millions but selected a cash option that reduced it to $877.8 million.

On the other hand, Powerball has had the all-time largest prize in the US – $1.586 billion which was split between three blessed winners in 2016.

The spread of COVID-19 hits the gambling industry

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, the gambling market suffers. Many states already ordered the shutdown of non-essential businesses and currently, the gambling industry is one of the most hurt. There are 82,583 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US and more than 1,300 patients passed away.

In most people, the virus doesn’t show strong symptoms but can cause cough and fever which usually clear in a few weeks. By now, it’s clear – the elderly and people with chronic health issues are mostly affected by the virus.

The pandemic is affecting society nationwide and while lottery sales are down, some industries are observing increased sales. Those are mainly the medical facilities, grocery shops, and stores for cleaning supplies.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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