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Are you ready for Powerball?
Odds of hitting lottery game jackpots:
Mega Millions — 1 in 175,711,536
Powerball — 1 in 175,223,510
SuperLotto — 1 in 41,416,353
Daily Derby — 1 in 1,320,000
Fantasy 5 — 1 in 575,757
Odds of dating a supermodel: 1 in 88,000
Odds of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million
Although Californians will be more likely to date a supermodel or be attacked by a shark, their odds of winning the Powerball in April will still be better than ever.
That's because Powerball, a lottery game with a jackpot that never dips below $40 million, will start selling $2 tickets to California residents on April 8 for the April 10 drawing. California is the 43rd state to join the nearly nationwide twice weekly drawing.
"It's been a long time coming," said Alex Traverso, a California Lottery spokesman.
In Powerball, players pick five numbers plus the power ball and win prizes based on the number they guessed correctly. The same number is never picked twice. Drawings happen every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
The California Lottery expects its newest multi-state game to take in about $350 million in its first year, spokeswoman Donna Cordova said.
The additional lottery funds will translate to an estimated $45 million to $50 million boost for schools in the state, Cordova said. However, an anticipated reduction in other lottery game sales — a side effect of Powerball's introduction into the lineup — could skew initial estimates.
On Nov. 29, the California Lottery Commission unanimously approved the adoption of Powerball, the second multi-state mega-jackpot lottery game in the state. Mega Millions, which features a minimum jackpot of $12 million, started in 2005.
Traverso said the decision to add Powerball to the roster was one the agency made with care.
"We heard our players loud and clear, but said if it makes sense, then this is what we'll do," he said.
Powerball's jackpot increases by $10 million every time the jackpot rolls over when there are no winners. Because of its popularity, Traverso expects Powerball to take off quickly.
"I think sales initially will probably be pretty strong," he said.
Plenty of excitement for Powerball players
Bruce Hughes of Marysville has played lottery games since they came to California in 1985. He plays Hotspot — a faster-paced draw game — regularly and spends upward of $120 a month on tickets, he said.
For a veteran player like Hughes, the $2 price for Powerball tickets won't steer him away from playing the game, he said. In fact, he will likely be buying a ticket when they go on sale April 8.
"To me, when the odds are way up there, you're doing it just to play," he said.
Others, like Yuba City resident Jeffrey Nissen, another frequent lottery player, said Powerball's poor odds aren't worth the cash.
"I'm a realist," Nissen said, "and the odds of winning are so long."
Even so, Yuba-Sutter convenience stores have been preparing for the mega-jackpot game. LED jackpot signs and Powerball posters greet customers of the 7-Eleven on Butte House Road in Yuba City as they enter the store.
Nona Dhindsa, the store's manager, said Powerball's arrival has created a small fervor.
"People have been asking me about it a lot," she said. "They've been really excited."
When lotto jackpots have been high before, Dhindsa said lines have formed so long that they have snaked around half the store.
Dhindsa said the store sells a lot of lottery tickets, especially after a Mega Million player won $338,106 in 2011.
All 7-Elevens in the area will hold a promotion for Powerball's arrival, she said. Starting April 8, cashiers will ask every customer if they want a Powerball ticket. If the cashier forgets to ask and the customer walks out of the store, the customer gets a free SuperLotto ticket.
— Griffin Rogers