Due to health and safety regulations, many lottery outlets have been forced to close in 2020. Many Americans needed to stay home and limit interaction with the rest of the public. As a result, sales from Powerball have gone down significantly and the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is looking for ways to boost sales. A move to expand services in other countries could be just what the MUSL needs to raise its position and replenish its coffers.
The MUSL is a non-profit group of lotteries and wants to fuel sales by entering markets abroad. The agency has been in the process of having discussions with the authorities in the United Kingdom and Australia. These regions are well-known for their lotteries and residents are always looking for a new lottery gaming experience. The MUSL is made up of 38 members that represent lotteries from all over the U.S. The agency’s primary product is Powerball and it is played in 45 states including the U.S. Virgin Islands, DC and Puerto Rico.
The news was revealed in late 2020 during a state lottery commission meeting. A MUSL board member, Director May Scheve said that the most profitable product and the game, the lottery, is hurting. Scheve added that the expansion is being discussed and that the MUSL is working hard to bring new promotions to Powerball. Furthermore, she stated that Powerball is a really strong brand and the agency wants more people to play. One way of finding new players would be to add to the population of existing players.
In 2015, Powerball’s gameplay was overhauled and the change aimed at generating larger jackpots, for more interest from consumers. To achieve this, the number of white balls was increased by ten and power balls were decreased by 9. With the reduction of balls, many players believed that this change made it easier to win the jackpot. However, the changes made, made the odds that much harder to beat from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million. The restructure of the game worked and Powerball would make headlines frequently because of its constantly growing huge jackpots. Which influenced Mega Millions to do the same, making the jackpot harder to win as well.
Despite the overhaul and the success it brought with it, 2020 was a year of losses and Powerball was no exception. According to a MUSL statement, multiple challenges for Powerball have been identified, such as jackpot stagnation and product relevancy. Additionally, and probably one of the most concerning challenges, is the marketing of Powerball on websites offshore with no contributions made to the lotteries and the programs it supports. Powerball is jam-packed with contributions, of the $2 that it costs to buy a ticket, 50% is used for game prizes. Furthermore, 35% goes toward good causes that are supported by the state where the lottery ticket was sold. Of the total, 9% covers the operating expenses and 6% goes toward retailer commissions.
Given the challenges the American population has faced in 2020, many lottery players have taken some time out from buying lottery tickets to focus on their essentials. That is the reason why Mega Millions and Powerball had to get rid of guaranteed jackpot minimum increases that would occur between draws as well as starting guaranteed minimum jackpots.
Even with the challenges faced in 2020, the jackpot in December 2020 reached approximately $321 million. Which is the highest it has ever been since late January 2020 when a lucky lottery player in Florida walked away with a total jackpot of $394 million. Also in late December 2020, the Mega Millions jackpot was estimated to be $352 million which marked Mega Millions’ second-highest jackpot for 2020. Earlier in the year, a lottery ticket purchased in Arizona in June hit the jackpot and the lucky ticket holder won a whopping total of $410 million. The new year comes with the hope that the jackpot totals can return to normal and with the increase in player population, it will hopefully raise the jackpots even higher.