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Changes coming to Powerball game

March 25, 2020 Posted by NC Lottery at 7:26 PM
Changes are on the way for the national Powerball game after the next time the jackpot is won.

When that happens, Powerball’s jackpot will reset to a guaranteed $20 million and the jackpot will increase a minimum of $2 million between drawings. Previously, Powerball jackpots reset to $40 million with minimum increases of $10 million.

The changes, approved Wednesday by the national organization that operates the Powerball game on behalf of state lotteries, are necessary to ensure that ticket sales support the prizes offered in the Powerball game. In many states, consumers are now following recommendations to shelter in place due to the coronavirus outbreak and some retail locations have closed or have shorter operating hours.

The changes, allowed under the rules for the Powerball game, go into effect immediately following the next jackpot win.

If there is a jackpot winner in the Wednesday, March 25 drawing, then the Powerball jackpot will reset to a guaranteed $20 million for the Saturday, March 28 drawing. If the jackpot is not won tonight, then the jackpot will grow to a guaranteed $160 million.

No decision has been made on how long the changes will be in place.

Powerball tickets remain $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m.


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4/02/2020 06:40 - andrew r.

Hi Andrew, thanks for your suggestions. Game changes to multistate games are not made by individual lotteries but by the national organization that operates the Powerball game. All lotteries offering the game must accept the changes. Don't forget though that the PB has a total of 9 ways to win. Like the Match 5(5+0) $1,000,000 prize and the Match 4+PB $50,000 prize. Those are really great prizes too. Even just matching the Powerball is a $4 win!

4/02/2020 04:45 - David S.

Well then, you should lower the ticket price as well.

4/02/2020 03:23 - stacy r.

You lottery people are going to keep screwing with the lottery for your profitable beneifit that the customers are going to tell you what you can do with your crooked lottery. You will have people gradually dropping out of your lottery due to North Carolina Lottery's greed. If you change anything change it for the good of your customers that built the jackpots up anyway. not for your personal greed.

4/02/2020 12:54 - Betty C.

If you change the jackpot then the playing numbers should be reduced. When the game jackpot increased as a base more numbers to choose from was increased to be in ratio. For instance now pick from 1 to 50 for t h.g e playing matrix and 1 to 20 for the Powerball. NC Lottery
Hi Betty, thanks for sharing your feedback. We'll certainly pass your suggestions along.

4/02/2020 01:25 - GREGORY W.

I'm out...

4/02/2020 12:46 - Shirley F.

Jackpot still has "million" amount. I just wish I would win.

4/01/2020 10:49 - William B.

I for one would love to see the balance sheet & the Profit/Loss statement for year ending 2019. Is this available to the public, more specifically North Carolina residents? From what I have read,the powers that be are lowering PowerBall initial payout to insure that the PowerBall can continue to fund its original purpose geared at assisting all N.C. schools. Sure, I’d love to win. The reality is that it probably won’t happen. I’m going to take what I normally spend on the lottery and put it into a savings account. I will donate those funds to help the students and teachers of Onslow County.I completely agree with “JON S” - NC Educational Lottery is way to top heavy. Bill Buck Onslow County Jacksonville NC NC Lottery
Hi Bill, We share detailed financial info here: If you aren't seeing what you're looking for, just email and someone will work to gather the info you're requesting.

4/01/2020 10:28 - John R.

Agreed that the game is top-heavy to the point of being stupid. Tell that national org to pull their heads out of their collective bum and show respect to their customers. 160 new $1 millionaires is WAY better than one $160 million winner. Why WOULDNT you want to affect 160 peoples lives instead of 1??? And lowering the prizes isn’t necessary. WTH have y’all been doing with your profits after giving to “education”? Maybe some SALARY CUTS at the TOP are in order. Seriously the execs are greedy as hell. Where are their pay cuts? Keep this up and nobody will be playing these games. BTW you need to split the winners and QUIT making scratch offs TOP HEAVY also. 20 millionaires is better than one winner of 20 million. Duh.

4/01/2020 08:44 - Maria D.

I just want to win

4/01/2020 10:05 - Jon S.

The lotteries are still way too top heavy. I would rather see 40 people win a million Than 1 person winning 40 million.

4/01/2020 08:56 - David S.

I understand the need for the changes, however if you do not also reduce the price of playing along with the jackpot I and millions of others will simply quit buying tickets after this latest jackpot is awarded.

4/01/2020 03:10 - William B.

After reviewing the new PowerBall changes, it’s time for me to withdraw from purchasing tickets. It’s is very apparent that the lottery officials move the bar to suit the needs of a select few. I am funding this scam.Bill Buck

3/31/2020 10:45 - lori j.

I’m excited

3/31/2020 05:47 - Alesia C.

I quit playing powerball when tickets went to $2. So with these changes I won’t change my purchases on lottery tickets

3/31/2020 03:49 - Jennifer L.

Where can past drawings and numbers be viewed? Thanks NC Lottery
You can view the past numbers for Powerball here:

3/30/2020 05:48 - Keisha J.

Well the costs of the tickets should be lowered to 1.00 again. It doesnt make sense tokeep playing if the jackpot is going dwn but the purchase price isnt, you guys are ripping us off with these changes. I guess Ill stop playing the powerball ???????

3/30/2020 05:44 - robin A.

What going on......??

3/30/2020 03:45 - Kevin W.

So why was the post about refunds taken down? NC Lottery
It's still up! You can view that post here:

3/30/2020 01:43 - Robert H.

The excuse for this change is not accurate or even logical. In ALL "shelter in place" zones, grocery stores and gas stations are deemed essential, which means they remain open. These are the most common place to purchase tickets, so sales should not be affected. Sounds like a higher profit margin is being sought.

3/30/2020 12:39 - shakiya d.

So I’m just seeing this and I brought tickets on Saturday if I had known this I wouldn’t had played and that’s the risk I took but never again

3/30/2020 01:41 - chris c.

Just another reason to never buy these again

3/29/2020 05:51 - Mary H.

Good Planning. :)

3/29/2020 04:42 - Sandra C.

Awesome mess to be able to buy online.

3/29/2020 11:45 - Mark L.

20 million or 40 million. It is still a lot of money. OK by me.

3/29/2020 11:40 - Michael S.

So let me get this straight,you are lowering the jackpot back to $20 million but leaving the cost of the ticket the same as it is for the $40 million jackpot. Please help me understand??

3/29/2020 01:29 - Dorothy B.

We are grateful in North Carolina that we have the opportunity to purchase online. Thank you. Blessings.

3/29/2020 01:18 - James G.

Why is it just $4 to hit a number and the powerball? And 2 numbers and the powerball is 7? A lot more people would buy tickets if 2 + the powerball got you $1,000 like it should

3/28/2020 08:51 - Andrew G.

When are we going to be able to purchase our pick 3 and pick 4 tickets online NC Lottery
Hi Andrew. At this time the lottery commission has only approved the sale of Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky For Life, and Cash 5 online. We will let the folks who are in charge of our online program know that you're interested in seeing those games added. Thanks for your feedback!

3/28/2020 12:56 - Jill E.

IF we are to stay at home, then why can't we play ALL games online; including the pick 3 and 4 games... it should all be online. And if prizes are decreasing along with incomes, why aren't the cost of draws going down??

3/28/2020 11:51 - Ted S.

They keep changing it and it makes it very discouraging as far as buying them is concerned. NC Lottery
Hi Ted, we understand your disappointment and frustration in learning about the changes. The reason this change happened is because Powerball is a national game and currently many lottery players across the country are under shelter-in-place orders or recommendations to remain at home which has affected normal game play. In addition, many lottery retailers have adjusted their operating hours. The jackpot changes are necessary to protect the Powerball game and to continue to offer drawings every Wednesday and Saturday night.

3/28/2020 10:31 - Brett B.

I think pro sports should adopt the lottery method. Play a game and no one wins. That would be exciting. I can’t remember a Cash 5, Mega or Power where there were back-to-back winners.

3/28/2020 09:56 - john a.

I'm wondering if Mega Millions will make a change like Powerball did. NC Lottery
No changes to the Mega Millions game have been announced at this time.

3/28/2020 09:07 - cecil c.

it would help if more people won a little bit all along than one or a group winning 160 million dollars. no one needs that much money. hell i could retire on 100000.00. or 50000.too many numbers.

3/28/2020 06:00 - BRADLEY G.

We needs pick 3 and pick 4 to be played on line NC Lottery
Hey Bradley, thanks for this feedback. We'll be sure to share your feedback with the folks who make these decisions.

3/27/2020 09:59 - Andre H.

I play regularly online and I never see anyone winning online. What’s going on???? NC Lottery
Hi Andre, with more North Carolinians staying home these past few weeks, we've seem more folks purchase games via Online Play.

3/27/2020 09:27 - Laquasha l.

I'm confused

3/27/2020 05:17 - Billy B.


3/27/2020 04:42 - Ken W.

Don't complain...Just don't play the Powerball.

3/27/2020 01:18 - nc s.

What area were the online winners of the Cash 5 and LFL from?NC Lottery
Hi NC, The winner's haven't claimed their prizes yet, so we won't have that information to share until that time.

3/27/2020 01:17 - nc s.

How many more people have signed up for online play in the last few weeks? How many online players are there total? Were the Cash 5 and LFL online winners numbers picked by the individual or quick picks?NC Lottery
Hey NC, The blog team doesn't have those reports on-hand, but if you email with your questions, someone will work to gather the info you're looking for.

3/27/2020 12:33 - nc s.

Both the jackpots for Cash 5 and LFL on 3/26/3019 were won from online play? Now that is some amazing odds. Really trying to persuade more consumers to play online while sales are declining in store. Random my ...NC Lottery
With a majority of people staying at home the past few weeks, we've also had more people playing their favorite numbers from home as well. So it's no surprise that with so many more people playing online instead of in-store that we've had a few big winners from Online Play. That doesn't mean the odds are any better or worse depending on where you play -- your odds are based on the total possible number of combinations, which hasn't changed -- it just means there are more folks taking a change to win there.

3/27/2020 09:18 - tim j.

I think the tickets should go back to One dollor for regular and two for Multiplier

3/27/2020 09:07 - Ronald C.

Liquor stores are run by the state there working.

3/27/2020 08:24 - Doris T.

If you lowered the amount you are paying out, why not lower the ticket price.

3/27/2020 08:11 - Sheila I.

@nclottery. Harris Teeter is seeking to higher 5000 new employees but yet won't cash in lottery winnings over $100. I'm confused? NC Lottery
We understand that can be frustrating. Some retail locations are experiencing higher than usual demand right now due to the coronavirus, like grocery stores. This might mean that the places that you normally claim your prizes under $600 might not be able to process lottery payouts at this time. We recommend calling the location before venturing out to see. If you can’t get your prize money at a retail location, sign the back of your ticket and secure it in a safe place. Your prize will be waiting for you after the coronavirus outbreak.

3/27/2020 08:07 - carolyn b.

The jackpot-winning ticket was sold through Online Play.

3/27/2020 07:49 - carolyn b.

Hi Carolyn, The Lucky For Life ticket worth $25,000 A Year For Life was sold through Online Play.

3/27/2020 06:35 - Ronald C.

The NCEL needs to get back to work all claim center workers work behind glass to begin with,or stop selling tickets. NC Lottery
Just like other state agencies, the lottery is striving to continue operations to meet its responsibilities for the state. Ticket sales continue currently, but the lottery relies on its retail partners to decide what is best for their stores and their customers as they remain open to meet the needs of their communities. If a retail partner decides it is in its interest and those of its customers to suspend lottery sales, the lottery will respect that decision. In closing the claim centers, the lottery is following the directions of state leaders in terms of social distancing and the limits to group gatherings and encourages its players and retail partners to do the same.

3/27/2020 04:04 - Jo Anne S.

Seems like a very one sided decision on the part of the national organization who oversees the Powerball game. Returning the jackpot to the way it was before should also return the odds of winning to the way it was before by reducing the number of white balls. I’m not sure I’ll play Powerball anymore. I’ve already stopped playing MegaMillions.

3/27/2020 12:46 - Robert R.

I think it's about time that they had multiple winners for the Power ball and Mega millions. The odds of winning are so bad, and ticket price increase caused a lot of people to stop playing them. Both games would be so much more popular if they had 25 2 million dollar winners for each 50 million prize pool.

3/26/2020 11:08 - LASETTE I.

Why was the decision not made to reduce ticket cost back to 1.00. After all it was increased to 2.00 because the starting and increasing jackpot amounts were larger. NC Lottery
We hear you, Lasette. Lotteries across the country are working to make adjustments to keep Powerball drawings happening at their regularly scheduled times, and to ensure the game can continue to support education in N.C. and all the good causes in the 48 U.S. lottery jurisdictions that offer the game.

3/26/2020 10:43 - Patricia K.

When will Keno be available to play online?NC Lottery
Hi Patricia, At this time we don't have any plans to add Keno to Online Play, but we will be sure to share your suggestion with the folks who make those decisions.

3/26/2020 10:14 - JIM B.

Was afraid I might have used my allotted amount of characters. What genius came up with hitting the Powerball # only and winning 4.00-and hit the Powerball and 1# and greatly increase your winnings 4.00 for both? Must be the same genius that came out with the Keno multiplier x1=ready?.......Zero additional cash won=-0-. Not all people from North Carolina are 6th grade dropouts. Will now take months to ever reach my threshold of 250M in order to play. :)

3/26/2020 10:04 - JIM B.

Terrible payouts on the hit 4#s. Pball-Hit 4#s out of (69)=100.00 Mega Millions-Hit 4#s out of (70)=500.00 Cash5-Hit 4#s out of (43)=250.00 (Raw Deal Here) and LLife-hit 4#s out of (48)=200.00 Absolutely the worst draw game out there. Will save me a ton of money as I don't play until it hits 250 Million.

3/26/2020 10:00 - Ebony G.

Awesome sometimes you have to give yourself Leverage! I'll keep playing if you keep paying.

3/26/2020 09:46 - William L.

piPick 3 and Pick 4 needs online purchase opoptions. I'd play if there were. NC Lottery
We appreciate hearing your opinion on this, William! We have let the game development team know that you are interested in seeing Pick 3 and Pick 4 added to Online Play.

3/26/2020 09:18 - William A.

What's the take on Powerball 60 or 70 % to the house. They have made it almost impossible to win even a small prize. Used to win once in a while until the added even more numbers. You got a 100 time better chance of getting hit by a flying Coconut.

3/26/2020 08:52 - Ken H.

I just tried to purchase tickets for CASH 5 for 03/26/2020. I wanted 20 tickets which cost $20.00. When I got to checkout the total was $60.00.Why?NC Lottery
Hey Ken, Sorry about that. We're not sure why that happened. Please reach out to our help team at and they may be able to see why this happened for you.

3/26/2020 08:32 - Annie J.

Help me understand why is there a $2 wager on a $5 game scratch off. How are we going to win when it’s being short changed. You get the five times the money and when you reveal you have a $2 underneathNC Lottery
Hi Annie, Thanks for your question. Our scratch-off games are built in a way that players could win each prize level several different ways. For example, a $20 win could be from matching one $20 spot, two $10 spots, four $5 spots, or even 10 $2 spots. While there are several different ways that prizes can be added and combined, the total prize for the ticket will never be less than the price of the ticket. Hope this helps!

3/26/2020 08:16 - Bruce B.

Maybe introduce some new payouts, for example you win money when you get one number and the powerball, you win if you get three numbers, but I get two numbers all the time but you get zip for that. Be nice to get something back for two numbers.

3/26/2020 08:12 - Sam M.

Are they going to remove some of the numbers to increase the odds? Or are they going to leave the same amount of numbers, leave the price the same, etc., and just lower the amount of the starting jackpot? Doesn't sound like a good move to me... Just sayin' NC Lottery
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Sam. Powerball is a national game and currently many lottery players across the country are under shelter-in-place orders or recommendations to remain at home which has affected normal game play. In addition, many lottery retailers have adjusted their operating hours. The jackpot changes are necessary to protect the Powerball game and to continue to offer drawings every Wednesday and Saturday night.

3/26/2020 07:45 - Ronnie M.

Hmmmm... I would think anyone who is a rational thinker would think that since the jackpot has dropped, so should the cost of a ticket since the odds will remain the same as we continue to help keep buying more school buses and god knows what else...Just saying.

3/26/2020 07:41 - Lee T.

Then you need to go back to 1.00 tickets.

3/26/2020 06:58 - Matthew O.

Sounds crappy, so we should be happy to win less?

3/26/2020 06:33 - Edward M.

Ask Uncle Donnie for Relief!

3/26/2020 06:29 - Edward M.

They sure don't care about taking your money Don't want to pay so they change the rules!!!!

3/26/2020 04:58 - Schmeka w.

Why haven't there been any cash 5 winners bought on line lately can u still purchase them onlineNC Lottery
Hi Schmeka, Yes, you sure can still play Cask 5 online! Games available through Online Play make up a small fraction of sales compared to in-store purchases. The odds of winning are the same if you play that way as they are if you buy a ticket in a store -- there are just far more people getting tickets the old fashioned way. However, we're happy to share that last night's Cash 5 jackpot winner was sold through Online Play!

3/26/2020 03:39 - Richard B.

Let's Go...!

3/26/2020 03:29 - Jean S.

Yes very good to wear that

3/26/2020 03:16 - Dan T.

Ripp Off have no chance of winning. A money grab for politicians. Just rollover until we get to $500,000,000. make the ticket $1 dollar again.

3/26/2020 02:09 - Diane R.

Has anyone ever won big online?NC Lottery
Absolutely! We've had lots of big winners from tickets purchased online. A few months ago we rounded up the 10 biggest Online Play wins to date for folks who are wondering the same thing. Take a look:

3/26/2020 01:50 - Betty R.

out of all the lottery games, what game is the most profitable for NC ?NC Lottery
Hey there Betty, Scratch-off games are popular with our players, so it's no surprise that they make up a majority of lottery sales. However, Carolina Pick 3 is our most popular draw game.

3/26/2020 01:21 - Jack W.

All the more reason to stop buying Powerball and invest in NC cash 5 way better odds. I stopped buying PB and MM.

3/26/2020 12:47 - Linda M.

it should be dollar

3/26/2020 12:22 - Betty R.

why are "pending points" held for more than a week on pick 3 & 4 games ??? NC Lottery
Hi Betty, Since Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets can be canceled, players who enter their ticket for points will see that their points are "pending" until the drawing occurs and our system confirms the points.

3/26/2020 11:50 - Dana B W.

I understand why the changes are needed during these trying times. I would like to see the Powerball when it reached 50 million have multiple draws at the same time to trigger multiple winners in the amounts of 20 million tops prize, 5 million 2nd prize and 3 million 3rd prize. It would make it more exciting and give everyone more of a chance to win.

3/26/2020 11:20 - William D.

When they increased the prize is when they increase to $2 per play. ARE they going to lower to $1 per play? NC Lottery
Thanks for asking, William. Like other businesses, lotteries are working to make adjustments to keep Powerball drawings happening every Wednesday and Saturday night and to ensure that the game can continue to support education in N.C. and all the good causes in the 48 U.S. lottery jurisdictions that offer the game.

3/26/2020 10:22 - Michael R.

If they are going to to this then they need to make the odds better. Go back to how they had the odds years back. The Powerball was much better then and more people were willing to play. By the way NC don't let the Coronavirus crisis deter you from drawing a Trip or Quads.

3/26/2020 09:26 - coriante s.

Basically the coronavirus is slowing down the lottery all business are taking a hit retail location are being close and things are closing early all over the 45 states that as the powerball. This is a form of monopoly they taking 20 million off the table so it takes longer for the jackpot to grow. It’s called take in more money than you give out

3/26/2020 07:27 - Nancy P.

I won't be mad if I only win $20mil.You gotta do what you gotta do to keep everyone safe & healthy!!! Let's get through this together.

3/26/2020 04:19 - Tim M.

Thanks for the heads-up. Yet another reason to NOT support this game. Ya know, you LOTTERY people, you'd think you might improve the game, i.e., bigger starting prizes, NOT smaller. Perhaps better odds. But NOOOOO! While you're at it, why not increase the white balls to 100? I already know you'll say this ain't NC. Nevertheless, it's the same principle. Keep sticking it to the customer while simultaneously sugarcoating it. Maybe soon you'll join the others in the Unemployment line. Smh. NC Lottery
Hi Tim, we understand your frustration. Just like other businesses, lotteries are working to make adjustments to keep Powerball drawings happening every Wednesday and Saturday night, and to ensure the game can continue to support education in N.C. and all the good causes in the 48 U.S. lottery jurisdictions that offer the game.

3/25/2020 11:33 - Deb w.

I see you once again missed the chance to educate fellow N.C. players about the POWERPLAY $3.00 ticket ! ! !

3/25/2020 09:38 - john T.

Stick with cash 5 people. Better odds and still enough money to change your life for just a buck. Powerball not worth it !

3/25/2020 09:09 - john a.

In that case, they should make the odds of winning a prize better.

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