Today one lucky Powerball player could go from rags to riches. Meanwhile, the man who heads the lottery is thinking about what comes next.
Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, or MUSL, said today’s Powerball was the sixth game change, and they’re happy with the results so far.
“We knew we needed to do something a little different,” Strutt told ABC News.
One of the recent changes includes eliminating red ball numbers 36 through 39.
“Sorry if they were your favorite red ball numbers, but the game is now easier to win,” MUSL’s Powerball website says. “The odds of hitting the jackpot drop from 1 in 195 million to 1 in 175 million.”
Strutt said his team goes through myriad ideas submitted by the 33 lottery member organizations across the country before they find the right one. One of the flops included a variable price game, where as the price of the ticket went up, the check for the winnings also increased.
Strutt — who joked he hadn’t learned his multiplication tables until he had been a journalist, a humor columnist and earned a law degree — said predictive math showed this version “had the best chance of success” with customers.
Now Strutt is looking for something new to add to the game of fortune.
“That’s always the challenge,” Strutt said. “Last year almost every lottery had a record year…It’s a big smile and it’s very happy to see a record year.” But Strutt said he’s always thinking, “What am I going to do next year?”
For inspiration, Strutt looks to related industries. That means hitting the casinos on the Las Vegas strip. But Strutt said he enjoys the restaurants more than the betting on those business trips.
“Believe it or not, I’m really not much of a gambler,” Strutt said. “Drop $20 in a slot machine and just be amazed how fast it’s gone.”
What’s the best part of heading up the multi-state band of lottery games?
“I’m not on the front line,” Strutt said. “I have to appreciate the fact that those lottery directors are out there with their necks on the line.”
That separation from the harsh reality of government officials and constituents gives Strutt the freedom to try out a creative idea, watch it fail and move on to the next one.