Is Powerball going to 3 times a week?

Powerball is currently drawn two times per week, on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. There has been some discussion about whether Powerball will move to three drawings per week in the future, but no official changes have been announced yet.

Some of the key questions around this topic include:

  • When did Powerball move to two drawings per week?
  • What are the potential benefits of having three Powerball drawings per week?
  • What are the potential drawbacks or challenges with moving to three drawings per week?
  • Have any lottery officials formally proposed or endorsed moving Powerball to three draws per week?
  • How likely is it that Powerball will actually switch to three drawings per week in the near future?

Background on Powerball Draw Frequency

Powerball originally started with one drawing per week when it launched in 1992. Over time, more drawings were added to help boost jackpot growth and player interest:

  • Drawings increased to two times per week in 1997.
  • In 2009, drawings briefly increased to three times per week before reverting to two drawings.
  • Powerball has remained at two drawings per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays since 2010.

The brief period when Powerball experimented with three draws per week in 2009 provides some insight into the potential pros and cons of adding another weekly drawing.

Powerball 3 Times a Week Trial in 2009

In January 2009, the Multi-State Lottery Association announced that Powerball would add a third weekly drawing, on Friday nights. This was part of a series of changes meant to increase jackpot sizes and boost player excitement amidst falling sales.

The new Friday night drawing officially launched on January 30, 2009. Powerball then had drawings on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

However, after less than six months, the Friday night drawing was discontinued. On June 1, 2009, Powerball reverted to having just two drawings per week again, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

During the brief trial period, Powerball officials and lottery analysts studied the impact of the extra weekly drawing. While some incremental jackpot growth was noted, overall sales remained flat. There were also concerns about “jackpot fatigue” with smaller prizes three times a week.

Based on these results, lottery officials decided to keep Powerball at just two drawings per week moving forward.

Potential Benefits of 3 Drawings Per Week

Even though the 2009 trial did not produce a major increase in sales, some lottery officials and analysts believe there could still be benefits to having a third Powerball drawing each week. Potential advantages include:

  • Faster jackpot growth – More drawings could help the jackpot roll over and build up prizes faster between big winners.
  • Maintain player interest – Additional chances to play may keep casual players engaged in the game.
  • Drive impulse purchases – The extra drawing day could lead to more convenience/impulse ticket sales.
  • Provides a “TGIF” drawing night – Friday night drawings may do well, ending the work week on a high note.
  • Matches other large jackpot games – Mega Millions currently draws three times per week, on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

For many state lotteries, the potential revenue boost from higher jackpots and ticket sales makes moving to three drawings per week an intriguing concept. Even a small percentage gain in profits across multiple states can mean millions in additional funding for lottery beneficiaries.

Potential Concerns with 3 Drawings Per Week

However, there are also some potential drawbacks or challenges associated with having a third weekly Powerball drawing.

  • “Jackpot fatigue” – Smaller jackpots three times a week could lessen enthusiasm.
  • Increased costs – More drawings increases admin, advertising and operational costs for lotteries.
  • Sales cannibalization – Some players might just switch playing days rather than buy extra tickets.
  • Reduced sense of urgency – Less time between draws could reduce the sense of urgency to play “before it’s too late.”
  • Burnout of advertising messages – More frequent jackpot promotion ads may tire out players.

State lottery officials also have to consider how three draws per week could impact other lottery games happening on a given day. There are concerns it could cannibalize sales from other drawing games scheduled on the new Powerball night.

These factors help explain the tepid sales results when Powerball previously experimented with a Friday night drawing in 2009.

Likelihood of Powerball Moving to 3 Drawings Per Week

Currently, there are no definitive plans in place for Powerball to expand from two drawings to three drawings per week. Powerball officials have not made any announcements about adding a third weekly drawing.

However, the idea has been debated frequently, especially when Powerball is experiencing a particularly long run without a jackpot winner. With two drawings per week, Powerball jackpots can sometimes go months before a winner is selected.

State lottery officials recognize that players may get less excited about smaller $40 or $80 million jackpots. Quickly growing a jackpot back into the hundreds of millions would recapture player interest.

In 2021, a poll by lottery industry trade publication La Fleur’s asked lottery directors across the country whether they would support moving Powerball to three draws per week. Out of 31 state lotteries that responded, 19 voted in favor, 9 were opposed, and 3 were unsure.

This shows there is interest in expanding to three draws, but no clear consensus among state lotteries. Any change would need to be approved by the Multi-State Lottery Association and be adopted uniformly across all participating jurisdictions.

While far from certain, the door remains open for Powerball to eventually align with Mega Millions and add a third weekly drawing night, possibly on a Friday. This would provide quicker growing jackpots, help compete with Mega Millions, and offer players more chances to play each week.

Other Recent Powerball Changes

Beyond the drawing schedule, Powerball has seen other changes in recent years intended to continue boosting excitement and sales:

  • October 2015 – Increased number pool from 59 to 69 to make the odds longer and jackpots larger.
  • January 2012 – Double Play add-on feature introduced in some states, for another chance to match numbers.
  • January 2020 – Removed Power Play multiplier of 10x to reduce odds and liabilities.

While the core game has remained largely consistent, Powerball officials do continue to tweak aspects of the game over time. Another area of possible future change could be expanding Powerball to more drawings each week.

The Bottom Line

While no definitive decisions have been announced, there remains ongoing discussion about potentially moving Powerball from two drawings per week to three drawings. This would aim to accelerate jackpot growth, maintain frequent player engagement, and better compete with rival lottery Mega Millions.

However, challenges such as “jackpot fatigue,” increased costs, and sales cannibalization remain barriers. Any change would need to drive sufficient gains in ticket sales and revenue to justify the added complexity.

State lottery directors remain divided on whether the benefits outweigh the downsides. Without broader consensus, Powerball is unlikely to adjust its longstanding two drawings per week schedule in the immediate future.

But as Powerball looks for ways to stay fresh and continue driving enormous jackpots, don’t be surprised if a third weekly drawing gets added sometime in the next few years.

Powerball By the Numbers

Year Launched 1992
Current Drawings Per Week 2
Draw Days Wednesday and Saturday
States Participating 45
Odds of Winning Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
Record Jackpot $1.586 Billion
Tickets Sold Annually ~200 million
Annual Sales Revenue $3-4 billion


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