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$40 Million Just Isn’t What It Used to Be

(or Since When Did $40 Million Become Chopped Liver?)


CONTACT: Chuck Baumann
Phone: 503-540-1015
Cell: 503-510-7829

Salem, Ore. – Forty million dollars would buy 16 penthouse condos in Portland’s Pearl District, for you and 15 of your closest friends. Heck, a group of investors in Utah just bought an entire mountain for $40 million.

Yet in Oregon, each time the Powerball jackpot “resets” to its $40 million floor, ticket purchases take a dive and don’t rebound until the jackpot again approaches $300 million. How can it be that the same Oregonians who will play for a chance to win $250 or $300 million can’t be bothered to take their shot at winning a “mere” $40 million?

“It’s counterintuitive,” said Joan Indursky DiFuria, a licensed psychotherapist, wealth consultant and nationally-recognized expert on the psychology of money. “For most people, they’d be thrilled with a million dollars. But for Americans, generally we’ve been told that bigger is better, more is better. Given that bigger jackpots have happened in the past, people are willing to wait because they know they’ll grow again.”

“Just like my wealthy clients who say they used to think they would retire at $5 million, but now say they’ll wait until they have $10 million, the bar keeps getting higher,” DiFuria said.

To encourage players not to wait and to rekindle excitement about Powerball jackpots of any size, the Oregon Lottery today launches a “Buy One, Get One Free” promotion that will last until the next Powerball drawing on Wednesday. During this three-day period, when the Powerball jackpot nationally sits at $40 million, Oregon Powerball ticket buyers who purchase a $2 or $3 ticket will get a free Mega Millions ticket for its $12 million jackpot. In other words: Buy one chance to win millions – get another chance for free. This new “BOGO” promotion will reappear whenever the Powerball jackpot resets to $40 million, for a limited time.

Player apathy about so-called “smaller” jackpots is nothing new and not exclusive to Oregon, said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

“In the ‘80s, when you had a million dollar jackpot, everybody went crazy. Then by the mid-‘90s, you had to have a jackpot of $50 million before people would get excited,” Gale said. “Why don’t people get excited about $40 million? The honest to goodness reason is—people have gotten so used to hearing these numbers. It’s just yesterday’s mashed potatoes.”

Powerball started in 1992 with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million. By 2012, the minimum jackpot was ten times that amount. Last year, state lottery directors decided to double the jackpot to $40 million to keep players coming back.

“The Oregon Lottery recognizes that $40 million isn’t enough to get players excited anymore. So we’re taking a bold step – some might call it a crazy step – to give away Lottery tickets to rekindle that excitement. There’s never been a better time to play Oregon Powerball,” said Stacy Shaw, the Oregon Lottery’s Assistant Director for Sales and Marketing.

Powerball drawings are every Wednesday and Saturday at 7:59 PM. Players can buy Powerball tickets at any Oregon Lottery retail location until 7 PM on the night of the drawing. Results and information about Powerball, Mega Millions and all Oregon Lottery games can be found at

Powerball jackpot prize winners have the option of choosing between cash or annuity payments. The one-time cash payment will be approximately half the advertised jackpot amount. The annuity payment is paid in 30 annual installments (less required federal and Oregon state tax witholding).

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned over $8 billion for economic development, public education, state parks and watershed enhancements.

NOTE: The following are available for media interviews.
  • Chuck Baumann, spokesman for the Oregon Lottery
    Phone: 503-540-1015, Cell: 503-510-7829 or
  • Joan Indursky DiFuria, co-founder, Money, Meaning and Choices Institute (Marin County, Calif.)
  • David Gale, executive director, North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (Geneva, Ohio)
  • To speak with Joan Indursky DiFuria or David Gale, please contact Shelby Wood or Sue Van Brocklin at 503-241-1124, or

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