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No One Cares About Powerball Unless It's a Billion Dollars

A $429.6 million Powerball jackpot hit on Saturday night, and in years past that would have been big news.

But after that $1.6 billion record runup in January, it’s only a brief. That’s a problem organizers of the two national lotteries, Powerball and MegaMillions, are facing more and more.

We have jackpot fatigue. Almost like how an addict needs more and more of the drug to reach the same high. 

Powerball officials say they used to notice a huge bump when the jackpot surpassed $100 million. A couple of years ago, surpassing that figure meant those who didn’t regularly play the game would start buying tickets.

Now the figure that triggers general public interest is more like $250 million, they say.

And think of this: Since the launch of a multistate lottery in 1987, Saturday’s $429.6 million jackpot is the seventh-highest of all time. But I’m still thinking, “Hey, too bad it didn’t get close to $1 billion.” Like $429 million isn’t an eye-popping number?

Also of note: This was the second Powerball jackpot since that $1.6 billion hit on Jan. 13, with James Stocklas of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, scoring $291 million on March 2 in between. (He bought the winning ticket in Marathon, Florida, while returning home from a fishing trip.)

Powerball then rolled over 18 times, until Saturday’s winning numbers of 5-25-26-44-66, with a Powerball of 9. The ticket was sold in Mercer County, New Jersey.

The Powerball jackpot now resets to $40 million for Wednesday’s drawing, and we do this all over again.

To hit a real jackpot on daily gambling news, go to or follow @NickSortal.
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Nick Sortal is South Florida’s expert journalist when it comes to the gambling scene. He covered the openings, expansions, poker tournaments, entertainment, and human-interest facets of the industry for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 2007 until taking a buyout in November 2015, capping a 30-year career that included state and national awards and features about naked yoga. He now writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and also reports about gambling on his site, The Southern Illinois native worked for papers in St. Louis and Indianapolis before joining the Sun Sentinel in 1985. He likes triathlons, country music, basketball, and bragging about his family.
Contact: Nick Sortal