Powerball jackpots to record $150m – so why is no one winning?

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

Powerball has rocketed to a historic $150 million for next Thursday’s draw – a division one prize that has never been seen before in Australian lottery history.

The ground-breaking jackpot comes after no players held a Division One winning entry in Thursday’s Powerball draw, prompting the game to roll higher for the eighth consecutive week.

The Lott spokesperson Bronwyn Spencer said 2019 continued to be a record-breaking year for Australian lotteries with Powerball venturing into unexplored territory once again.

“Never before has there been such a strong sequence of high Powerball jackpots like the one we’ve witnessed during the past 12 months,” she said.

But many Australians are now asking if this spate of record-breaking jackpots is merely a coincidence.

Nobody claimed Thursday's $100 million jackpot. Source: The Lott

Why does Powerball keep jackpotting?

In August 2018 the Powerball jackpot hit nine figures for the first time ever, standing at an eye-watering $100 million.

Months later in January a record $100m jackpot was offered with one winner collecting a total of $107m.

Then in July that was pipped by a $110 million jackpot that was eventually split between three winners.

Two months later the current jackpot sits at $150 million – again another record.

The odds of winning the Division One jackpot is 134 million to 1. Source: The Lott

The news came as a shock to punters, with about one third of Australian adults buying a ticket for the draw yet to no avail when it came to the Division One prize.

Hundreds took to social media to express their disbelief.

“How can Powerball not go off? Next week 150 million..... I reckon it's a scam...,” one person suggested.

An incredible run or a clever ploy?

And while The Lott’s Bronwyn Spencer remarked “who would have known” such a gargantuan jackpot would follow just months after July’s $110 million, those in charge of the Powerball knew the likelihood of a draw jackpotting over and over had increased since April last year.

It was then the Powerball format was changed.

Instead of having to match six numbers from 40 from the main barrel, players must now match seven numbers from 35.

This has made it almost twice as hard to scoop the Division One prize, with the odds of one game winning it rocketing to 134,490,400 to 1.

The chances of winning it previously was 76,767,600 to 1.

Powerball now requires players to match seven main barrel numbers compared to the previous six. source: The Lott

The Lott reaping millions from jackpotting draws

At the time the move was made, The Lott told punters the move would create more winners overall.

“The odds of winning any prize have improved from 1 in 78 to 1 in 44, so you can look forward to more winners in every draw,” The Lott said last year.

Yet that was of course thanks to the addition of a Division Nine with the extra ball drawn.

There were 1,866,572 winners in Division Nine who matched the Powerball with two main barrel numbers. They collected the grand total of $10.90.

Making the Division One prize much harder to win appears to be a clever ploy on Powerball’s behalf, with the furore surrounding each record-breaking jackpot most likely triggering a spike in ticket sales.

The number of ticket sales each week is something however, The Lott has refused to disclose to Yahoo News Australia on several occasions, but no doubt they reap many millions in revenue when hype around a big jackpot is created.

The $150 million Powerball draw 1218 will take place next Thursday.

If gambling is a problem for you go to Gambling Help Online or call 1800 858 858.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.