So, for Powerball, it’s been about seven months since the last time there was a “big jackpot run,” and for Mega Millions, it’s been about six months. That’s a pretty long time compared to some recent years, but it also goes to show what lotteries always say: You never know when the next big one is going to hit. Over time, there will be busier times and slower times. That’s how the laws of random statistics work.
Powerball is on a bit of a roll right now, with its jackpot hitting an estimated $196 million annuity ($116.9 million cash option) for tomorrow night’s drawing. The jackpot was last won in the drawing on Aug. 9 with a ticket purchased in Colorado.
In the 2½ years since $2 Powerball’s debut in January 2012, the game has performed as we thought it would, with its overall jackpots growing faster and higher and many more millionaires being created (the game’s second prize for matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball is now set at $1 million). More than 1,000 millionaires were created in the first two years of the game’s new design, including 14 Iowa Lottery players.
The $2 Powerball game has delivered at least eight monster jackpots of more than $300 million, including the game’s current record jackpot, a $590.5 million prize won by a Florida woman in May 2013. In fact, eight out of the Top 10 jackpots in Powerball have come since the $2 game’s start.
We think Powerball is performing as it should, but from a month-to-month perspective, there can still be periods of time when there isn’t a huge jackpot on the line.
For players, what’s happening right now is actually good news, because it means people have been winning! The jackpot doesn’t really get up there unless it rolls for a period of time without being won. Recent jackpots have been at what some might call a “lower level” – even though they’ve still reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars – because the jackpot has been won more often. So, yay for lottery players, right?
And here’s an interesting factoid: The mathematical models used in the Powerball game predict its performance over a 10,000-year timespan. Those models forecast that sales should increase over time, but they also show that in some years, players should get lucky and win more jackpots. That’s been occurring in the past year or so, with players taking home more jackpots. Good for them – it’s part of what makes lotteries fun!
Bottom line, games like Powerball and Mega Millions don’t understand calendars.