Powerball changes double starting jackpots and improve overall odds

(FOX19) - Changes are coming to Powerball that improve your odds of winning, create more millionaires and boost the starting jackpot.

Starting Jan. 15, 2012, in celebration of Powerball's 20th anniversary, jackpots will start at $40 million. The overall odds of winning a prize are improved to 1 in 31.8. The Match 5 prize improves from $250,000 to $1 million cash. The ticket price will also change, moving from $1 to $2.

Ohio joined Powerball on April 16, 2010. Since joining the multi-state game, Ohio has sold two jackpot winning tickets. Ohio's first Powerball win was for a $261.6 million jackpot sold June 2, 2010 in Sunbury, Ohio and claimed in trust.

The second jackpot, worth $97 million, was won by a group of Chrysler paint shop workers who purchased their ticket in Curtice, Ohio. That jackpot was split with Montana.

Ohio Lottery Interim Director Dennis Berg said the changes make room for more millionaires. "One of the exciting features of the new Powerball game is players who miss the jackpot prize by missing the Powerball will still win $1 million. Plus, the starting jackpot is bigger," Berg said.

The enriched Powerball game will debut on Jan. 15, 2012 with the first drawing on Jan. 18, 2012. Tickets will cost $2 and the Power Play® multiplier feature will still be available for an extra $1 per play. For that extra $1, players have the chance to win $2 million cash for the Match 5 prize.

Powerball drawings are held Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. For more information about Powerball and the Ohio Lottery please visit www.ohiolottery.com.