Powerball ticket cost, jackpot to double

PHOENIX - If you like to play the lottery it's soon going to cost you a little more.

The price of a Powerball ticket is about to double, but so are the jackpots.

To mark the 20th anniversary of Powerball, the lottery is raising the ticket prices to $2 a ticket. The starting jackpot is also increasing to $40 million.

The update in cost and other changes are coming January 15, 2012.

Arizona State Lottery director Jeff Hatch-Miller told ABC15 doubling Powerball tickets from $1 to $2 is going to pay off not just for the lottery, but for the players as well. Lesser prizes will also increase in value. The second place prize is rising from $200,000 up to $1 million now.

Hatch-Miller says the more expensive tickets will also buy players better odds. Currently, Powerball players have a 1 in 35 chance of winning something. After the change, the odds will be a little better than 1 in 32. The increase in odds results from the lottery using fewer actual "Powerballs". Currently there are 39, but after the update it will drop down to 35.

Phoenix native Alex Salas makes daily trips to the convenience store to buy lottery tickets. He says he has been playing for the past 15 years. When he found out the price for his Powerball tickets was increasing, he was pretty sure of what he would eventually do.

"[I'll] stop buying lottery tickets because if they're raising them about 100 percent, pretty soon I won't be able to afford lottery tickets and I'll have to just give it up."

But Hatch-Miller says an update to Powerball was in order.

"We've been listening to our players really hard and they want higher jackpots, more meaningful jackpots, second tier prizes and other prizes larger; to do that, they're willing to pay a little bit more," Hatch-Miller said.

Prices, prizes and odds will stay the same for Mega Millions. Hatch-Miller says people wanting to pay $1 a ticket can still play Mega Millions.

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