DES MOINES, Iowa — Black Friday shoppers in many cities briefly detoured into lottery retailers, drawn off task by the prospects of winning a $325 million Powerball jackpot, the fourth-largest in the game’s history.
Lottery officials say they’re unsure what effect Thanksgiving and beginning of Christmas shopping season will have on sales, which normally pick up in the days before high-dollar drawings.
Since Powerball tickets doubled in price to $2 in January, the number of tickets sold has decreased, but the sales revenue has made up for it, increasing by about 35 percent, said Norm Lingle, chairman of the Powerball board of directors.
And as the price went up, so did the jackpots, enticing thousands across the country to play.
Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said of the price increase: “... we believed the jackpots would grow fast and grow large because of the change in the game, and it does appear that it is working.”
Lingle, who is also the executive director of the South Dakota Lottery, says this weekend will be “telling.”
“To my knowledge we’ve never had a large jackpot run like this fall over a major holiday,” he said.