New Powerball Draw Show Debuts Wednesday

The Powerball draw will get a fresh new look for fall on Wednesday, September 30, including upgraded drawing machines, ball sets and a revamped studio. The record-breaking lottery game itself will remain the same.

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“We are excited about the future of Powerball,” said Sarah M. Taylor, President of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), the non-profit group of 38 US lotteries that oversees the game. “For 28 years now, America’s jackpot has been life-changing. It was time to see some changes to the show, as well.”

The draw show is broadcast live on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 pm ET from the secure studio at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. These will be the first upgrades to the draw since it migrated from the MUSL's head office in Iowa to its sunny new FL home in 2012.

Powerball was the new kid on the block when it replaced the Lotto America game in April 1992, and the fresh face quickly took the lottery world by storm with incredible jackpots that drew worldwide attention. In the years since there have been a number of changes to Powerball's draw equipment to ensure it stays up-to-date with industry standards.

Although the draw show is only broadcast for one minute, behind the scenes every detail is intensively planned and monitored - Powerball even has its own law enforcement division - to ensure the twice-weekly event goes off securely without a hitch.

“Powerball has been America’s life-changing jackpot game for 28 years,” said May Scheve Reardon, Powerball Product Group Chair. “Players can be assured that the new drawing equipment has undergone rigorous security screenings and certifications to ensure its integrity.”

The Smartplay Halogen II ball machines that will debut on Wednesday are the next generation of the gravity-driven machines used for the draw since 2009. The upgraded ball-dispensers have new compressed air features along with lighting and base updates.

The ball sets are also being updated to the latest specs. The current hard rubber balls that last 2-4 years will be replaced with the new industry standard, solid foam, which will be used for 4-6 years.

The new foam balls actually debuted in the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year live broadcast during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020. The chance to be the first Powerball player of the year to win $1 million is now available again for 2021.

The draw show's fresh look will also include updated background graphics, music composed specifically for the draw, and some edits to host Sam Arlen's script.

"Our objective going into this project was to create a modern, fun and thrilling backdrop that captures the anticipatory excitement of winning a life-changing prize," explained Beth Bresnahan, a member of the MUSL committee that designed the changes. "I believe we achieved this with new graphics, new music and tweaks to the script that showcase the winning numbers and complement the Powerball brand."

The Powerball Product Group has been busy planning the draw changes behind the scenes since 2019. While the coronavirus pandemic threw up unexpected bumps in the road, the team "powered" through to bring the project to completion.

“The plan to execute changes to the Powerball draw show started last year," said Taylor. "We were in the middle of the project when the COVID-19 health crisis hit. Despite challenges, committee members from participating lotteries were able to continue working to produce this new, thrilling draw show and we are excited for our loyal Powerball players to see the final product.”

Meanwhile, more players are staying at home due to the spread of coronavirus, and when they do leave the house, they want to make their trip as fast as possible. These changes to normal behavior led to a reduction in lottery ticket sales.

In April, Powerball and Mega Millions dropped their starting jackpot levels from $40 million to $20 million. Rollover increases have decreased from $10 million to a minimum of $2 million per draw. The changes were made to ensure that sales levels could continue to support the jackpot and other prize tiers.

However, prizes have continued impressive growth despite the pandemic. Wisconsin got its first Mega Millions jackpot when a single ticket hit $119 million in the September 15 draw. Just one day later, a ticket sold in New York scored the $94.8 million Powerball grand prize on September 16.

The next chance to take home the Mega Millions jackpot, which currently stands at $32 million, is on Tuesday, September 29.

The next Powerball draw for an estimated $34 million top prize is on Wednesday, September 30, when players can also see the new draw show for the first time.

Tickets for both draws are available online now.

Published: Sunday, September 27, 2020
Updated: Sunday, September 27, 2020