Here's A Downside To The Powerball Lottery Reaching A $1 Billion Jackpot

The biggest Powerball jackpot - $564 million - being drawn in February, 2015. PHOTO: CNN Money

Very soon it's going to be harder for the average player to win Powerball - even though the jackpot may possibly climb to 1 billion dollars.

That's because from the October 7, 2015 draw, the 36 states that participate in the multi-state lottery are making changes that make it harder to win the top prize.

The rules change will increase first set of numbers from from 59 to 69, while decreasing the size of the second set of numbers from 35 to 26.

So the odds of winning the jackpot will increase to 1 in 292,201,338, up from 1 in 175,223,510.


The biggest Powerball jackpot so far, $564 million in February 2015. VIDEO: ABC News

But it also means that there's a chance that Powerball -- which hit a record $590.5 million in 2013 -- may even reach a billion dollar jackpot as it becomes harder to win.

There's some good news. The odds of winning $4 will improve from 1 in 111, to 1 in 92.

"The rules change is intended to increase the odds of winning any prize, while making it more difficult to win the jackpot prize," the state Gaming Commission said in a memo to board members.

It's common knowledge that the higher the jackpot, the more people buy tickets.

So the move is aimed at boosting jackpots as sales have slumped since 2013, the last huge payout. Overall, the chances of winning a prize will improve from from about 1 in 32, to 1 in 25.

In the US Powerball, players select five numbers from one set and one number from a second set. A ticket costs $2.

The rules change will increase first set of numbers from from 59 to 69, while decreasing the size of the second set of numbers from 35 to 26. The set prize amount for the third-level prize will increase from $10,000 to $50,000.

The chances of a Powerball win making some future player a billionaire will be much higher - 7.5 times as high in fact.

Powerball sales declined nationally by 19% in 2014 because there was no huge jackpot. The same was true for the drop in Mega Millions sales, New York officials said.

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