If playing the lottery is your thing, you could get one more chance a week. The Oregon Lottery Commission soon will vote on whether to allow an additional Powerball drawing.
It’s almost certain the commission will do it. It doesn’t set the rules for Powerball. It participates in Powerball along with other states. And the “Powerball Product Group” has approved an additional drawing on Monday to accompany the drawings on Wednesday and Saturday. If Oregon wants to keep selling Powerball tickets, it needs to allow the additional drawing.
What will the change mean? The states selling Powerball tickets are not benevolently trying to create more winners. They hope it will mean more sales of tickets and more revenue over time. Staff of the Oregon Lottery project increased Powerball ticket sales will mean about a 5% increase in sales in Oregon.
More drawings can mean more excitement. Lottery operators hope you buy the fantasy: Never work again. More millions than you could ever need. Raining cash down to help your family, your friends, your favorite causes.
The reality is your chances are pretty awful. The probability of winning the Powerball grand prize is 1 in 292,201,338. Winning $4 is much easier at 1 in 38.
If you have the money to lose, Powerball can be fun. It also is like a voluntary tax. Since 1992, Powerball has generated between $10 million to $20 million per fiscal year in Oregon for education, state parks, services for veterans and more.
The breakdown for 2020 in Oregon was:
Gross sales: $31,196,079
Prizes: $15,589,343 (50% of gross)
State transfer: $10,615,363 (34% of gross)
Retailer commissions: $2,472,882 (sales) and $115,176 (prizes)
The gross sales figures in 2020 were about half what they were in 2018.
If you buy Powerball tickets thinking it’s the answer to bring you long-term happiness, you are likely to win disappointment. Think of it more as buying a fleeting dream that also goes to some good causes.