September 25, 2020

PR preparing to play Powerball


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powerballFrom Caribbean Business

The Puerto Rico government is poised to announce that the U.S. territory is adding the multi-state, multi-million dollar Powerball jackpot to its electronic lottery options.

Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta is slated to hold a press conference at agency headquarters on Friday to detail a new lottery product.

Powerball is already played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball is a combined large jackpot game and a cash game. Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time, five white balls are drawn out of a drum with 59 balls and one red ball out of a drum with 35 red balls. The jackpot (won by matching all five white balls in any order and the red Powerball) is either an annuitized prize paid out over 29 years (30 payments) or a lump sum payment. Each ticket costs $2. If the winner chooses the annuity, the annual payment will be increased each year by the percentage set out in the Powerball game rules.

Jackpots regularly reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The odds of matching all six Powerball numbers are 1 in about 175 million, according to statistics from the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa.

Puerto Rico’s Loto jackpot can reach into eight figures. A record $32 million ticket sold in San Juan earlier this year remains unclaimed.

Puerto Rico has long flirted with the idea of jumping into the Powerball game, which the Treasury Department has estimated could mean an annual revenue bounce in the neighborhood of $13 million.

The Treasury Department has had its eye on Powerball for at least a decade, but implementation was put off due to a range of factors including logistics, participation rules and fears that it could cannibalize sales of existing electronic lottery games and the traditional lottery.

Now, Powerball could give Puerto Rico public coffers a boost amid troubling revenue signs early in the new fiscal year.

The Treasury Department’s tax haul missed targets in August, marking the first shortfall two months into fiscal 2015.

Net revenues to the general fund reached $440.6 million in August, $27.4 million short of Treasury Department projections of $507 million for the month. Net revenues in August 2013 topped $472.7 million.

Government revenue in July outpaced estimates by $37 million, but relied on a greater-than-expected haul in the Law 154 excise tax on multinational manufacturers in doing so. Revenue also fell short in nearly every other major target.

While government officials have played up the July numbers as a positive start to fiscal 2015, other observers fear they are a sign the government is headed toward another budget deficit that could complicate its already fragile financial situation. In fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, government revenue missed estimates by $488 million.

Total tax revenues for July and August were up 10 percent over the same two-month period in fiscal 2014. The combined collections beat the two-month estimate by a thin $10 million margin.

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