Second $1 million Powerball winner since ticket price increase - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Second $1 million Powerball winner since ticket price increase


Another Powerball ticket sold in Iowa has won a $1,000,000 prize.  It's the second one million dollar prize in Iowa in a week and a half.

Steve Petty from Adair won the last prize, from the February 18th drawing.

The winning ticket from the February 29th drawing was purchased in Des Moines.
Gary Higens from Des Moines claimed his prize Thursday morning.  He's currently a manager at Florist Distributing in Des Moines, which supplies plants and flowers to Hy-Vee stores

Coincidentally, Higen's winning numbers were drawn the same day the Iowa Lottery posted a blog about how the changes in the game have increased your chances to take home a big prize.

"Powerball's starting jackpots have doubled from $20 million to $40 million; the overall odds of winning a prize have gotten easier, with the numbers in the Powerball pool being lowered from 39 to 35; and the game's second prize that you win for matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball has increased from $200,000 to the current $1 million cash. We also said that we expected the Powerball jackpots to grow more quickly," wrote the Iowa Lottery's VP for External Relations, Mary Neubauer.

"I think the results so far show that there are, in fact, bigger, faster growing jackpots in Powerball, as had been predicted."

Lee Whitmore, who likes to play a couple times a month almost stopped when the price went up.

"At first I thought I'm not spending two dollars, but then I got back into now and I see people are winning," said Whitmore.

"Now the question becomes 'is Powerball over performing in Iowa?' and we don't think so. Obviously I'm sure folks in this state would love it if every Powerball winner was from here, but we just think Iowans are being particularly lucky in Powerball right now," said Neubauer.

While it appears many more people are winning with Powerball, there is a question whether or not more people are buying the more expensive ticket. Some stores say people are avoiding the two dollar ticket and going with less expensive games.

"We did see a slight decrease in the number of tickets being sold and when I say slight I mean six to ten percent. It was really quite small," said Neubauer.

Since then the numbers have evened out and more people are back to playing Powerball, with each one dreaming of winning big.

"I'm always glad to see somebody come out ahead," said Whitmore.

The jackpot has also grown with the changes to Powerball. It used to start at $20 million, but now the beginning jackpot starts at $40 million.

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