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Politics & Government

Powerball Will Stick Around In Idaho... For Now

Idaho State Lottery Director Jeff Anderson speaks before the House State Affairs Committee in March.
Keith Ridler
Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson addresses the House State Affairs Committee at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The panel killed legislation that would have allowed the Powerball game with multi-million dollar jackpots to continue in the state.

Powerball lovers won’t have to say goodbye to the lottery game this summer after all, though its future in Idaho is still shaky.

Last month, an Idaho House committee rejected a bill that would’ve let the state participate in multinational lotteries. Powerball wants to expand to Australia and the U.K.

Idaho law currently only allows it to participate in multi-state lotteries.

Powerball’s expansion into Australia had been scheduled to begin Aug. 23, but state lottery director Jeff Anderson said Wednesday that negotiations hit some snags.

“That doesn’t mean that we won’t be back next year to try to address this because it’s my understanding that this is inevitable,” Anderson said.

Several Republicans on the committee said in March that games like Powerball give people false hope when the odds of hitting a jackpot are astronomically low.

The chances of drawing all six numbers in the correct order to hit the Powerball jackpot are one in 292 million. Numbers are drawn twice a week.

Some also worried money from Idahoans would go to supporting gun control or other issues that don’t align with their political beliefs.

The game brings in an average of $14 million in revenue every year, along with millions that go to education funds.

In addition to tax revenue, lobbying groups for gas stations and other retailers have urged lawmakers to keep Powerball among the state lottery’s portfolio of games. They said it draws customers to their stores who buy other items or services.

Anderson said Powerball is expected to stick around in Idaho until sometime in 2022, barring new legislative action.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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