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Powerball game getting a makeover

HELENA – Powerball is getting a makeover that will bring larger, faster-growing jackpots and larger prizes that will be more difficult to win, Montana Lottery officials say.

Effective Aug. 28, the jackpot will start at $15 million rather than the current $10 million. The second-level prize will double from $100,000 to $200,000, and the third-level prize will increase from $5,000 to $10,000.

“Our players have clearly indicated with their dollars that it is time for a change to the game. Gradually declining sales over the past several years clearly show that players want bigger and faster-growing jackpots,” said George Parisot, director of Montana Lottery. “These changes to Powerball will allow that to happen.”

Another change will provide players with the opportunity to win $1 million. For an additional $1, players can add Power Play to their Powerball tickets. Adding Power Play guarantees that any Powerball prize except for the jackpot will be multiplied by up to five times.

For example, if the Powerball ticket matches all five white ball numbers, the player wins $200,000. If he or she chose to play Power Play when buying the Powerball ticket and the Power Play number came up five, the $200,000 is multiplied by five and the player wins $1 million.

To increase the average jackpot size, two white-ball numbers will be added, changing the jackpot odds from 1 in 120.5 million to 1 in 146.1 million.

The odds of winning a cash prize will remain virtually the same, however, at l in 36.6.

Players will still select five white-ball numbers and one Powerball number, just as they do now.