The Hoosier Lottery and the multi-state lottery consortiums that oversee the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are feeling the economic effects of the pandemic, both in sales and jackpots.
Lottery officials in Indiana have changed the incremental increases when there is not a winner of Hoosier Lotto. It is now a minimum of $100,000 for the jackpot roll but could be higher based on sales. Prior to last weekend, the prize would increase between $200,000 and $300,000 per roll.
“Recent decreases in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic are forcing us to reassess the amount we’re able to increase the Hoosier Lotto jackpot between drawings,” said Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor.
Indiana lottery officials say it is registering week over week declines in Hoosier Lotto revenues since the stay at home order went into effect. The organization says foot traffic in stores, which drives sales, is down.
The lottery also says ticket sales have been limited to stores that remain open as “essential” businesses.
“And even among those stores, many are operating at reduced hours due to the current health crisis,” said Julie Henricks Mahurin, director of public relations for the Hoosier Lottery. “All of these factors have contributed to the decrease in draw game sales, which directly affects funding for jackpots.”
The consortiums overseeing the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings have also adjusted starting jackpots due to slowing sales. Both of those lotteries are offered in 45 states.
Once the current Mega Millions jackpot is won, it will be reset to $20 million. Previously, it was reset at $40 million. The next drawing is Friday evening.
The organization says future jackpot increases will be set on a drawing-by-drawing basis and will no longer have a fixed amount. The increased jackpot will be determined by sales and interest rates.
“These adjustments will allow the states and jurisdictions that sell Mega Millions tickets to continue generating much-needed revenue to support state budgets,” said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium
The Powerball Product Group has announced guaranteed starting jackpot amounts and minimum jackpot increases have been eliminated.
Like Mega Millions, the Powerball starting jackpot has been rolled back to $20 million. The minimum increase, if a jackpot is not won, will be $2 million.
“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes,” said Gregg Mineo, chairman of the Powerball Product Group. “Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries.”
Hoosier Lottery officials say they are “actively monitoring sales during this unprecedented time.”
The organization will publicly release financial numbers at the next Lottery Commission meeting which is tentatively set for May 12.
In 2019, the state of Indiana received a record payout of $312 million from the Hoosier Lottery.