A single lottery ticket holder may have claimed the $50 million Powerball prize this week, but the real winner is the company behind the jackpot – Tatts Group. Lottery companies benefit from large jackpots by attracting irregular customers with the hope of an even bigger win – and Thursday’s $50 million prize was the result of five weeks where the jackpot was not won. Andrew Orbach, a gaming analyst at Taylor Collison, says Tatts benefited from the larger Powerball jackpot because the larger prize attracts more ticket buyers. “A lot of once a year-type players would come out of the woodwork,” as he puts it.
In 2015-16, Tatts Group reported a rise in lotteries revenue of 8 per cent compared to the previous year from “a boost from the very strong jackpot run in Oz Lotto and Powerball,” the company said in a release last August. In that year, 45 jackpots were at or above “the influential $15 million level”, compared to 34 in the prior year. But as the jackpots dried up in the six months to the end of 2016, so did revenue. “The lower jackpot run resulted in revenue of $349.1 million generated from Powerball and Oz Lotto compared to $471.0 million in the prior period – a decline of 25.9 per cent for these two games,” Tatts Group’s directors’ report of December 2016 stated.
In 2013, the Powerball rules were changed to make it more difficult to win the jackpot. “The irony being the tougher they make it to win, the more that it stimulates sales,” Mr Orbach said. Thursday’s $50 million Powerball jackpot is the second-highest Australian prize pool this year, just behind by the $55 million Powerball draw in January. The odds of winning with the 24-game ticket purchased by the winner were one in 3,198,650. Overall, the odds are one in 76,767,600. The jackpot for the winner – an unemployed man from Sydney’s west – is tax-free.