Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Powerball stupidity

Powerball Execs Stupidly Raise Price to $2 per Line — Hello, Bad Economy, Anyone?

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Remember how I said a few days ago that I was having trouble coming up with meaningful blog subjects?

Well, forget that, because today’s blog subject is so easy I’m surprised no one else has taken a whack at it.

Put succinctly: who came up with the idea that Powerball should cost $2 per line rather than $1 in this terrible economy?  And why hasn’t that person been fired by now due to this atrocious idea, rather than Powerball being about to institute their new $2-per-line “fee schedule” on January 15, 2012?

As of that date, Powerball will raise its opening jackpot to $40 million (meaning you can never win less than this if you take the multi-year option prize) and will guarantee that you’ll win $1,000,000 if you match five of five numbers (rather than the current $200,000).  And they’re touting that the “overall odds” to win a prize will be better — I don’t see it, but whatever — which must be the reasoning they used.

But that is not enough to justify raising the price from $1 to $2 per line, especially as the popular “multiplier” feature is not included — it’s still separate.  So if you want to “multiply” your prize, you’ll now have to pay $3 per line rather than $2.  While this isn’t as big a jump — because the multiplier feature has remained the same at $1 per line — this is still a jump and most people won’t bother.

Now, as to the reality of why people play Powerball and other lottery games of chance?  It’s because we all want to hope for better, and Powerball plays off that in its advertising.  The typical Powerball ad says, “With one dollar, you can buy a ticket — and a dream.”  And that’s pretty much what you’re buying with regards to Powerball, as the overall odds aren’t that great (view current odds here).

Anyone with half a brain knows that playing the lottery is a fool’s game.  You’re better off, really, to bury your dollar in the backyard than you are to play the lottery, yet many people — including myself — do play the lottery mostly because they want to dream about something better.  And hey, there’s lots of ways to waste a dollar — so why not?

But when you’re talking about putting $2 down for each ticket rather than only $1, things change.  Suddenly, you’re having to pay double the amount of money and that doesn’t seem reasonable — especially as the economy remains awful in many parts of the country, including my own Wisconsin.

Which is why this is such a stupid idea that I really don’t understand why anyone would want to roll this out just past the New Year, especially considering how many people are struggling just to pay for the basics, much less optional luxuries like a lottery ticket.

Here’s what’s likely to happen with regards to Powerball as of 1/15/2012; sales will plummet.  Those who have a dollar and a dream will play MegaMillions instead (which draws on Tuesdays and Fridays in many states and has kept its price, sensibly, at $1 per line), or will play their own state’s lottery, or will maybe just save it and bury it in the backyard.

And the reason Powerball sales will plummet is this: the economy is bad.  It is brutal.  And in the Midwest, where money is at a premium, lottery sales have already gone down — so why do the Powerball execs want to make it even worse?

So if I can see this new “fee schedule” as a non-starter as a regular lottery player who’s spent more than her share of cash on the Powerball over the years, why can’t the Powerball execs?

Oh, yeah.  They must not have been hit by the horrible economy, so they actually think there’s enough money out there to do something like this.

I have news for you, Powerball execs: think again.  Or watch your business go south.  Way south.