A lot of Americans improved their financial habits during the pandemic, cutting back on spending, recognizing the value and impact of emergency savings, and gaining a sense of how important it is to build a war chest to face the financial challenges of the future.
All those good lessons will be put to the test soon, when the country’s favorite financial folly and money-waster, Powerball, unveils new changes designed to make bigger jackpots more frequent. Those changes also could make the lottery dramatically more expensive over time for regular players.
It’s a case of small little habits adding up to surprising dollars. The question is how Americans — many of them fresh off of realizing how much small splurges were costing them before the pandemic — will respond.
Most will add “lottery inflation” to the rising price of everything else these days, shrugging off the cost of extra tickets and additional chances and missing this opportunity to see the wastefulness of lottery spending and change their habits.
Effective Aug. 23, Powerball is adding a third weekly drawing. There is also a new “Double Play” option, a $1 add-on that gives players a second chance to win with their Powerball numbers in a separate drawing with a top prize of $10 million.
It appears that some states may make the bonus play a standard, effectively raising the price of a ticket to $3 unless the buyer opts out; the Multi-State Lottery Association — which runs Powerball — is sparse with details, letting member states break the news of how and why the game changes will work and were necessary. (The organization did not respond to my request for comment/clarification.)