By Kathy Canavan
Delaware’s coffers will get about $2.5 million from the last two draws.
“Sales for the last couple weeks were very strong, and I think Delaware’s share, just for the last two draws will be an extra $2.5 million,” said Lottery Director Vernon Kirk.
The last two draws were $3.75 million and $4.9 million, compared to normal draws of $350,000 to $400,000. “That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 times more sales than normal,” Kirk said.
The state’s take isn’t pure gravy for the budget. It balances weeks when draws were low.
To mitigate those low draws in states, the Multi-State Lottery Association approved changes to the matrix for Powerball last October.
The new matrix was designed to produce more small prizes because players said they’d like to win something even if they don’t win the big prize and to produce more extremely large jackpots because more people play when the jackpots are outstanding.
Now, jackpots are higher and statistically harder to win, but there are 23 percent more smaller winners nationwide than before the changes.
“We changed the matrix in October to generate larger jackpots and, at the same time, increase some of the prize payouts,” Kirk said.
He said Delaware had three $50,000 winners in the last Wednesday night drawing, and that prize, under the old system, would have been $10,000. “The odds of winning any prize have increased a little bit, and some of the smaller prizes have increased,” Kirk said.
The Powerball’s impact on the state budget is small potatoes — a total of about $9 million a year in a $3.9 billion 2016 budget. “It’s exciting. It’s a nice little bump, but it’s not a silver bullet,” Kirk said.