DES MOINES, Iowa — The allure of capturing the estimated $448 million Powerball jackpot had players in a buying frenzy Wednesday, further confirming a trend that lottery officials say has become the big ticket norm: Fatigued Powerball players, increasingly blase about smaller payouts, often don't get into the game until the jackpot offers big bucks.
Meghan Graham, a convenience store worker from Brookline, Mass., has purchased nearly a dozen Powerball tickets in recent months thanks to the huge jackpots, and the third largest-ever pot was enough reason to buy again.
"The more it keeps increasing, that means nobody is winning … a lot of people are gonna keep buying tickets and tickets and tickets and you never know, you just might get lucky if you pick the right numbers," she said.
A recent game change intended to build excitement about the lottery increased the frequency of huge jackpots, and Wednesday's jackpot drawing comes only a few months after the biggest Powerball jackpot in history — a $590 million pot won in Pasco County by an 84-year-old widow. The second largest Powerball jackpot was won in November and split between two tickets from Arizona and Missouri.
With a majority of the top 10 Powerball jackpots being reached in the last five years, lottery officials say smaller jackpots don't create the buzz they once did.
"We certainly do see what we call jackpot fatigue," said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. "I've been around a long time, and remember when a $10 million jackpot in Illinois brought long lines and people from surrounding states to play that game."