(WYTV) – The statistics firm known as FiveThirtyEight has some numbers for us: at what point in a growing lottery jackpot do people who ordinarily never play start buying tickets? Or, they might join a group at work by signing on to an office pool.
The bigger the payoff, the more people play, of course.
Let’s look at the two big games: Powerball and Mega Millions.
Every time someone wins them, both games reset to $20 million. At this point, only die-hard players buy tickets for either game.
Then when the jackpot reaches $100 million, ticket sales begin to rise quickly.
But FiveThirtyEight tells us the real “tipping point” occurs at around $250 million.
That’s when office workers start pooling their cash, people who almost never buy tickets start buying tickets and sales jump up to around $200 million tickets or more per drawing.
The Pennsylvania Lottery says the sweet spot in that state used to be around $200 million when ticket sales started to rise. If the jackpot touches $300 million, sales really take off.
One more thing: sales tend to climb when a game makes the news.
Every time the Powerball or Mega Millions reaches a big round number such as $600 million or $700 million, the news pounces on the story and sales go up.