Why $1 billion Powerball drawing is getting a shrug from weary players: ‘No big deal’

Metro


They want to hit it bigger!

People aren’t as impressed by Wednesday night’s $1 billion Powerball drawing because the massive 10-digit jackpot has become all too common — with only about half as many people flocking to buy tickets as they did a couple of years ago, according to experts and shop owners.

“It’s known as jackpot fatigue. People are less excited over a large prize than they used to be because those big numbers are old news,” Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told The Post.

The latest sky-high windfall comes after a mystery Mega Millions player won $1.1 billion in New Jersey last week and has failed to lure many non-regular ticket buyers, Big Apple retail workers said.

“It’s known as jackpot fatigue,” Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told The Post. AP

“They realize it’ll be a billion dollars over and over and over, three or four times a year, so you don’t have to come,” said Gautam Das, 62, a clerk at the BP Gas station in Bayside, Queens. “You can catch the next one…So no urgency, and no big deal.”

Ticket sales used to triple at the fuel spot when jackpots hit $1 billion — but tough luck drawing a crowd these days, the clerk said.

“It’s not like before when people used to go crazy…They would come in and line up all the way out the station door,” Das said.

It’s not clear whether anyone will win Wednesday night’s drawing, valued at $1.09 billion.

But many New Yorkers are yawning at the once-eye-popping prize, which comes after lottery officials made it harder to win in recent months, creating bigger jackpots.

Arthur Stavola buys his Power Ball ticket at Bayside Smoke Shop on Bell Blvd in Bayside, NY. James Messerschmidt

Lotteries are more likely to hit $1 billion than they were a few years ago because the lottery system was rejiggered to create lower odds, Matheson said.

A $1 increase in ticket prices and a spike in interest rates also makes the lotto’s so-called “annuity” —  the prize lotteries advertise — much higher.

“They’ve made it harder to win, so it’s more likely to roll over more times before someone wins,” he said. “And with interest rates, you don’t need to accumulate as much to reach $1 billion.”

The phenomenon has led to a slump in sales and often causes the jackpot to grow more slowly after an initial spike.

Lotteries are more likely to hit $1 billion than they were a few years ago because the lottery system was rejiggered to create lower odds, Matheson said. AP

“Only half the number of people are buying tickets nationally for $1 billion jackpots than they were in 2022,” he said.

In October 2022, for example, a $1 billion Powerball drawing sold 131 million tickets nationwide. In the case of Wednesday’s drawing, “they will be extremely lucky to sell 70 million tickets,” Matheson said.

George Damoulakis, owner of Evers Pharmacy in Cambria Heights, Queens, said he no longer expects a hubbub over a billion-dollar prize.

“People still play but when it was over a billion dollars…people came in droves! There was a line of people out my door saying, ‘I never play but it’s so high. I got to, you know, I got to get in there,’” he recalled.

Gautam Das, manager at BP gas on Bell Blvd in Bayside, NY, remarked that people have noticed that depsite the higher pot, something is amiss with the lottery system. James Messerschmidt

“But people aren’t driven by the big number anymore. There’s no urgency with a billion dollars now.”

At Bayside Smoke Shop in Queens, only a smattering of die-hard lotto buffs had bought tickets for the Wednesday night drawing.

“It’s not like it was five years ago. Big jackpots there would be a line. Now, no line,” said clerk Sandip Patel, 26.

“The way it used to be was people who didn’t play Lotto would come in and you’d hear them say, ‘This is the first time I play lotto!’” he said. “No more.”




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