It’s been over two months since someone has won Powerball’s top prize, bumping up the jackpot to a staggering $500 million prize, the third largest prize in Powerball history, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. The game hasn’t seen such a large jackpot in almost a year. With revenue taking a dip, officials are hoping for a successful drawing Wednesday night.
As the monetary reward increase, people lined up to try their luck at the lottery. But it appears Americans aren’t as willing to spend $2 dollars for their chance to win millions as they used to be. While total U.S. lottery sales rose slightly in 2014, Powerball sales dipped more than 30 percent, nearly $2 billion from 2013 to 2014.
“It’s only when it gets to those big numbers and starts to get headlines that you have a rush of money coming in,” Yahoo finance senior writer Michael Santoli said. “People who study lotteries say there’s such a thing called ‘jackpot fatigue’ which is when the jackpots are not as big or any bigger than the ones that came before, people are not so interested in playing.”
Seven of the ten largest Powerball jackpots ever awarded were doled out in 2012 and 2013, but this is the first time the jackpot’s topped $400 million since last February.
With 44 states and the D.C. relying on the revenue from ticket sales to help pay for programs such as education and housing, there’s a lot at stake with this jackpot.
“We’re just seeing a larger gap between the peak and valley in the current year, but with this nearly half-billion dollar jackpot, it’s certainly creating a lot more excitement from our players,” Idaho lottery executive director and Powerball Game Group chairman Jeff Anderson said.
Lottery officials and participating states are hoping this excitement will pay off.