In October, the states that run the Powerball lottery approved a series of rule changes that made it much harder for participants to win the jackpot.
Under the new rules, players are allowed to select five of 69 numbers per play, up from five out of 59 numbers. Moreover, the choices for the Powerball was actually reduced from 35 to 26.
This decreased the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million.
The reason this change was to increase the chances that there would be no grand prize winner for any given drawing. When there is no grand prize winner, the prize pool rolls over creating giant jackpots.
At the time the rule changes were first floated in July, FiveThirtyEight estimated that the chances of a $1 billion prize pool increased from 8.5% to 63.4% over a given five-year period. At the same time, the decreased number of choices for the individual Powerball made winning small $4 prizes more likely.
“The rules change is intended to increase the odds of winning any prize, while making it more difficult to win the jackpot prize,” the New York State Gaming Commission wrote in a memo supporting the change.
And sure enough, some 6 months later in early 2016, the first billion dollar lottery jackpot in history came to fruition. Read much on the big money game and how it may not be the darling it appears to be in everyone’s dreams @ Powerball’s $1.3 Billion Swindle Of Americans | ThinkProgress.