Since the first state-sponsored lottery was launched in New Hampshire in 1964, nearly all of the states subsequently discovered that selling lottery tickets was very good at generating major revenues that the states could then spend on education, to help needy senior citizens or for many worthy purposes. Today, Powerball is a very popular multi-state lottery option that was first launched in 1992. Buyers choose a sequence of five “white ball” numbers, followed by the one red Powerball number.
The winner correctly guesses the exact right sequence of the balls. Each number may be a two-digit number up to a maximum number. As of this writing in October 2015, you can choose five white ball numbers from 1-69 each and then select a Powerball number from 1-26.
States that offer Powerball—Or don’t
Managed by the Multi-State Lottery System (MSLS) based in Des Moines, Iowa, most states, along with the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, offer Powerball lottery tickets to adults ages 18 years and older. If you live in a state where Powerball games are offered (but not Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah), then you can buy one or more tickets. If you do not live in a state offering a Powerball lottery (or even if you do), you can travel to another state where Powerball lottery tickets are available and purchase your tickets at an available retail site or other location. If you win—and lucky you!—you must travel to the state where you purchased your Powerball ticket in order to collect your winnings. Be sure that you sign the back of your tickets as soon as you purchase them so that no one else can claim your winnings.
Where can you buy Powerball tickets?
In most states, Powerball tickets can be purchased in convenience stores, supermarkets, liquor stores, smoke shops, gas stations, and at many other locations. Sometimes the American Legion or other private organizations sell these lottery tickets.
To discover exactly where Powerball tickets are available for purchase in your state, go to the map of the United States at this site offered by the MSLS: http://www.powerball.com/powerball/pb_map.asp. Click on your state (or another state where you would like to purchase a Powerball ticket), and then click on “retailers” or similar options. Some states offer a search option where you can type in your zip code or your city to find out where you may purchase your (hopefully!) winning ticket.
Cost of tickets
Powerball tickets cost $2 each, although it may be very hard for many people to buy just one ticket, sort of like eating just one potato chip. For an additional dollar, you may purchase a “power play” option on your ticket which will multiply the prize you win–if you win– by up to ten times.
Finding Out If You Won
Powerball drawings are usually held twice each week in a state, and winners are announced on major media, such as on television or radio stations. You really can’t be anonymous if you win. The state wants people to know that there are winners, so that other people will be inspired to buy Powerball tickets too.
However, it is up to you to find out whether or not you won, because no one will contact you if you did. That may sound unfair, but tickets are purchased anonymously, so sellers really don’t know who won. You have about a year to cash in your ticket. So pay attention.