SHOREWOOD/BROWN DEER -- Wednesday night's Powerball jackpot is $80 million, and Wednesday will be the first Powerball drawing since the Wisconsin Lottery raised ticket prices from $1 to $2. The odds of winning are better, so will it affect the way people play?
Retina Rascoe was feeling lucky Wednesday, so she decided to play Wisconsin Lottery's Powerball for the first time. "I think, it's a new year - I think I deserve a win!" Rascoe said.
Starting this week, the price of a Wisconsin Lottery Powerball ticket went up from $1 to $2, and at Wick's Beer and Liquor, employees say Powerball players are creatures of habit. "From what I've seen in the last three days since it started, the same regular customers that are buying the tickets are actually paying the extra amount," Tom Wick said. Wick's officials say the better odds do seem to be helping ticket sales.
In the new Powerball game, the "powerballs" or red balls you select dropped from 39 to 35, but for some, that isn't enticing them to buy more tickets. "We had one customer who buys $10 worth, twice a week, and that's what his budget is," Wick said. That man, who didn't want to be named, walked in to get his five chances, which last week, used to be ten. "I don't think it makes any difference. No one's ever going to win," the man said. "If they bought $5 before, they're paying $10 for it, and not decreasing because of the increase in price," Wick said.
Holli Commons at Otto's Wine Cask thinks those better player odds will affect the game. "People start winning more, even if it's a few dollars, they're going to see the difference, and that's what's going to make them stay with whatever they used to spend," Commons said.
Some say they'll spend whatever it takes for a chance to win the big jackpot. "$80 million, I'm not greedy. I'll deal with half. I don't need it all," one Powerball customer said.
With the price increases, Powerball jackpots now start at $40 million as opposed to $20 million before. Powerplay prices are still $1 more.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of Wisconsin's Powerball Lottery.