Players said they wanted the Powerball game to "drive jackpots," Burnside said. Now, when the Powerball jackpot is reset, the winnings will start at $40 million instead of the previous $20 million, he said.
Paying that extra dollar now gives winners who match five numbers a reward of at least $1 million, he said.
"That extra dollar goes into the price structure. It creates more millionaires in this game," Burnside said. "We've been fortunate in West Virginia. In the last 12 months we've had five millionaires created from the Mega Millions and Powerball."
Charles Black, of Charleston, didn't care what his numbers were Tuesday. He had a computer pick the numbers on each of the three tickets he bought in Sissonville, South Charleston and Charleston.
"It's so high I might as well try," said Black, who had just bought his third ticket at the Go-Mart on Bigley Avenue. "It's never been this high before, so I might as well throw a couple dollars away and see what happens."
And if ticket buyers don't have the jackpot-winning ticket, Burnside encourages them not to forget about their ticket.
"Just because you don't match all six numbers doesn't mean you're not a winner. Make sure you check your tickets," Burnside said. "Eventually someone is going to win."
The last person to win the Powerball jackpot in West Virginia was Randy Smith, of Martinsburg, who took the cash option of $44 million of the $79 million total jackpot on Aug. 23, 2010.
In all, eight winners in the state have won the Powerball jackpot, Burnside said.
At a Lottery Commission meeting Tuesday, marketing director Nikki Orcutt touted the record jackpot.
She noted that West Virginia players have won eight Powerball jackpots, including two of the top 10 record jackpots: Jack Whittaker won the now-sixth largest jackpot of $314.9 million in 2002, while a group of employees in the Monongalia County Tax Office shared the 10th largest jackpot of $276.3 million in 2008.
The Powerball jackpot drawing is at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday.
If there isn't a winner Wednesday, Burnside said the jackpot would roll over into Saturday's drawing. It would likely eclipse the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot from March, the largest jackpot in history, Burnside said.
Staff writer Phil Kabler contributed.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113