Father: My son "was struck by a despair so deep that he could not see beyond it."

Academic Magnet and School of the Arts students gather near the parking spot of student Aaron Williams, 16, who died Thursday, as a boom box, which Williams was known for carrying around school, plays 'I Will Remember You.'

Columbia -- Higher ticket prices, bigger jackpots and slightly increased chances of winning are coming in January to the multistate lottery's popular Powerball jackpot game -- possibly meaning more millionaires in South Carolina's future.

The cost of a Powerball jackpot ticket will double Jan. 15 to $2, South Carolina lottery officials said.

Powerball players can expect more of the eye-popping $100 million-plus jackpots that seem to attract many extra players.

Also among the changes is a $1 million prize for players who match all five white-ball numbers on a ticket, but miss the red Powerball number. That's up from $200,000.

"There will be more millionaires, improved odds and bigger jackpots," said Paula Harper Bethea, South Carolina Education Lottery executive director.

The Multi-State Lottery Association decided to raise Powerball ticket prices in September, after more than a year of contemplation, Bethea said.

The upcoming changes are an attempt to "refresh" the games for players and attract new players, Bethea said, who are encouraged to play responsibly with only expendable income.

Powerball is played in 44 states. South Carolina, coming up on its 10th anniversary, joined the lottery in 2002 and expanded by adding the cross-sell Mega Millions jackpot to its lineup in January 2010.

The Mega Millions ticket price will remain at $1, giving players who balk at the new $2 Powerball the opportunity to still play a big sweepstakes jackpot game in South Carolina. Bethea said having that option available played a big role in affirming the Powerball price increase.

The Mega Millions jackpot Friday night was $100 million, and Saturday's Powerball jackpot was $67 million.

"I think it's good, but good for the customer, too," said Tony Singh, owner of the Columbia Newsstand downtown on Main Street. "They're paying a dollar more, but also they're getting a jackpot from $40 million, rather than $20 million for a dollar more."

 

A rundown of changes to the Powerball jackpot game approved in September by the Multi-State Lottery Association and taking effect Jan. 15:

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