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Expert: New Rules For Powerball Increase Odds Of Billion-Dollar Jackpot

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 30 11:04 a.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a game changer for the Powerball lottery game. New rules will take effect next week.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, they'll be doing something dramatic to both your odds of winning and the size of the jackpots.

The current Powerball jackpot is one of the 50 biggest in the country, but that $301 million could soon look like chump change.

"We've never had a billion-dollar North American lottery. They've had them in other countries, but this might be our first," said math whiz Walt Hickey.

Hickey ran the numbers for the stat-driven website FiveThirtyEight.

He said the new Powerball rules dramatically boost the odds of a billion-dollar jackpot in the next five years.

"It jumps way up!" he said. "It's about 7 1/2 times higher."

Starting next week, the number of white balls will increase from 59 to 69, while the number of red Powerballs will drop from 35 to 26

That means your odds of winning small amounts, $4 or $7, improve, but your odds of hitting the jackpot jump from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million.

Wednesday's $301 million Powerball prize is the largest since February.

Last year was a relatively bad year for big Powerball jackpots, and spending on the game in New York dropped by 44 percent.

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