Powerball, Mega Millions joining forces

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two lottery giants have announced they are joining forces. The deal between Mega Millions and Powerball means that Virginians will soon be able to play both games without crossing state lines. It could also mean more money for schools in the commonwealth.

If the deal between Mega Millions and Powerball goes as planned, ticket sales could pick up even more.  No longer would Virginians have to cross into neighboring states to play Powerball.

"We know that when Powerball is high, we have Virginians crossing the border to buy tickets in those other states.  It will be great to be able to let Virginians stay at home," said Paula Otto, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery.

On the other hand, since Mega Millions will be available in those states, Virginia could lose business from border-jumpers who come here when the jackpot is high. But lottery officials are confident that the move will boost sales overall.

"We've done a couple of models. Exactly how the numbers will shake out we haven't figured out, but we know it will absolutely be a net gain," said Paula.

And that means more money for Virginia's public schools. Last year, lottery proceeds made up about 6 percent of the state's total education budget.

Lotto players like Chuck Bent are excited by the prospect of another big jackpot. He approaches the Mega Millions with a sense of optimism, mixed with a healthy dose of realism.

"I always expect to win," he said. "The possibility is fairly slight. What are the odds, one in 100 some million?"

That's one in 175,711,536 million to be exact. When all is said and done, both Mega Millions and Powerball will be available in 43 states. Powerball in Virginia could be a reality as early as next spring.

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