The Powerball USA Lottery


Are you aware that Powerball was earlier known as Lotto America! Lotto America began in 1988; and the name, was changed to Powerball on April 19, 1992. Powerball’s first drawing was held three days later on April 22.

Powerball now consistently awards the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. In the year 2012 after the changes were made to the Powerball jackpot increase of more than $100,000,000 meaning that more Powerball millionaires could be made just by matching five numbers and also the minimum prize win increased to $4.

Beginning in October, 2015, Powerball became an even larger combined large jackpot game and cash game. Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time, five white balls  are drawn out of a drum with 69 balls and one red ball out of a drum with 26 red balls. This change means bigger jackpots. It also means that your odds of winning some prize are improved. With an impressive $40,000,000 starting jackpot, US Powerball offers the biggest starting jackpot of any world lottery, and its $1.58 billion personal best from January 2016 is the all-time lottery world record!

Some Facts

  • Powerball replaced Lotto America in April 1992.
  • Powerball is an American lottery game sold by 47 lotteries (44 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) as a shared jackpot game.
  • It is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a non-profit organization formed by an agreement with various U.S. lotteries.
  • Powerball’s minimum advertised jackpot is $40 million (annuity) with a potential of nine-figure prizes. The jackpot rolls over until all the numbers are matched.

US Powerball Lottery Infographic

  • On March 7, 2001, an optional multiplier called Power Play was added, allowing players to multiply non-jackpot winnings by up to five by paying an extra $1 per game. A wheel was introduced to select the Power Play multiplier for each drawing on October 9, 2002, the 1x was removed from the Power Play wheel.
  • The biggest Powerball jackpot to date was $590,500,000 won in May 2013 by one ticket in Florida; it was the third-largest lottery jackpot worldwide, surpassed by two Mega Millions jackpots.
  • Powerball’s annuity is paid in 30 graduated instalments; winners may choose cash instead.
  • Powerball drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time.
  • The game uses a 5/59 (white balls) + 1/35 (Powerballs) matrix from which winning numbers are chosen.
  • Each play costs $2, or, with the Power Playoption, $3 (prior to January 15, 2012, games cost $1 each, or $2 with Power Play; the latter option was added in 2001.)
  • The official cut off time for ticket sales is 10 p.m. Eastern; some lotteries discontinue sales earlier. The drawings usually are held at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee.
  • Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah do not sell lottery tickets.
  • On March 14, 2013, Wyoming became the 44th state to establish a lottery; it offers only the two “national” games.
  • Powerball became the first game to use two drums. Using two drums to draw numbers from offers more manipulation, simultaneously allowing high jackpot odds, numerous prize levels, and low overall odds of winning.
  • The two-drum concept was suggested by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery.
  • The two-drum concept has since been used by Mega Millions in the U.S., Australia’s Powerball, Thunder ball in the United Kingdom, Euro jackpot, and Euro Millions (Euromillions selects two numbers, called “Lucky Stars”, from the second drum; jackpot winners must make a total of seven matches).
  • Puerto Rico joined Powerball in October 2014. The first draw to include Puerto Rico was on October 1, 2014. It is the first mainly Spanish-speaking jurisdiction offering the game. (As of July 2015, Puerto Rico has not joined Mega Millions.)

How to Play the Powerball Lottery

Powerball Ticket

  • The minimum Powerball bet is $2.
  • In each game, players select five numbers from a set of 59 white balls and one number from 35 red Powerballs.
  • The number chosen from the red Powerballs may be the same as one of the numbers chosen from the white balls.
  • Players can select their own numbers or have the terminal randomly select the numbers (called “quick pick” or “easy pick” among other names, depending on the state).
  • In each drawing, winning numbers are selected using two ball machines, one containing the white balls and the other containing the red Powerballs.
  • For the winning numbers, five balls (the white ball numbers) are drawn from the first machine and one (the Powerball number) from the second machine.
  • Games matching at least three white balls or the red Powerball win.
  • The drawing order of the five white balls is irrelevant; all tickets show the five white ball numbers in ascending order. Players also cannot use the drawn Powerball number to match one of their white numbers, or vice versa.
  • Two identical machines are used for each drawing, randomly selected from four machines. The model of machine used is the Halogen, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey.
  • There are eight ball sets (four white, four red); one set of each color is randomly selected before a drawing. The balls are mixed by a turntable at the bottom of the machine that propels the balls around the chamber.
  • When the machine selects a ball, the turntable slows to catch it, sends it up the shaft, and then down the rail to the display.
  • You can play Powerball online by selecting five main numbers from 1-59 and a single Power Ball additional number from a guess range of 1-35 on your choice of 3-line or 5-line tickets.
  • When you buy lottery tickets online you will see a scanned copy in your online account before every draw.
  • US Powerball winning numbers are selected each Wednesday and Saturday at 23:00 EST, and your official Powerball lottery ticket could make you the lottery world’s next dollar multi-millionaire! Buy tickets for online or from your local Powerball retailer.
  • The overall odds of winning a Powerball prize are now just 1 in 31.85, while the chances of winning the jackpot are a little over 1 in 175,000,000.
  • Claim prizes by within 180 days or online the next day.

Powerball Payouts

Every time a Powerball ticket is bought, a massive 50% goes towards prizes with 20% going directly into the jackpot pool, while the other 30% goes towards the other prizes. So whenever you buy Powerball tickets, 20% of what you spend goes straight to the jackpot. The remaining 50% goes to the state where the ticket was bought to cover operating cost, retailer costs and of course good causes.

Payouts are awarded according to how many numbers you have matched. The golden rule is that the more numbers matched the bigger the prize.

The biggest decision you’ll need to make is your Powerball number, as matching this alone will win you $4, match just two more regular numbers and you’re on your way.

Powerball Odds

The Power Play

Power Play is a special add-on feature that allows a winner to increase the original prize amounts (except the jackpopt). The Power Play option costs $1 and must be selected when you buy your Powerball ticket. Powerball players with the Power Play option winning any prize other than the jackpot will win a larger cash prize. The Match 5+0 prize with Power Play option grows to $2,000,000 paid in a cash lump sum (no annuity option is offered). All other lower prizes (below Match 5) will be multiplied by a number that lotto draws (2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X). In October 2015, a 10X multiplier was added to the mix with a chance to be drawn for all jackopts at $150 million or less. As with any lottery prize, if an extremely popular number is drawn and there is not enough money in the prize pools or reserves to cover it, then prize is reduced.


So on top of the cost of a regular ticket, you can pay extra for the Power Play option which acts as a multiplier of prizes in a similar way to how Mega Millions’ Megaplier does. Taking the Power Play option multiplies winnings earned by matching just one number right through to matching five numbers – turning the $1,000,000 prize into a $2,000,000 prize.

For example, the basic $4 prize for getting just the Powerball in the regular game becomes a $12 prize with the Power Play option. There is no multiplier for the jackpot prize if you use the Power Play but if you’ve won the jackpot then sure you won’t be complaining.


Some Rules of Play

  • The players may purchase tickets in other states, all prize claims must be made where the ticket was bought.
  • The minimum age to play Powerball is 18 in most participating jurisdictions, except in Nebraska, where it is 19, and in Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, where the minimum is 21.
  • Generally, Powerball players do not have to choose cash or annuity unless they win a jackpot (then they usually have 60 days to choose).
  • There are exceptions: in Florida and Missouri, the 60-day “clock” starts with the drawing, so a jackpot winner who wishes to take the cash option needs to make immediate plans to claim their prize (in Idaho, winners have only 30 days after claiming to choose).
  • New Jersey and Texas require the cash/annuity choice to be made when playing; in New Jersey, an annuity ticket can be changed to cash after winning; however, in Texas, the choice is binding (when the cash option was introduced in 1997, all Powerball players had to make the choice when playing; this regulation was phased out by early 1999).
  • All Powerball prize winners must claim within a period ranging from 90 days to one year, depending on the rules where the ticket was bought.
  • Powerball winnings in California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota are subject to Federal income tax only. There is no state income tax in Florida, South Dakota, Texas or Washington, and only on interest and dividends in Tennessee and New Hampshire.
  • Winnings from tickets purchased in another state may be subject to its income tax laws (with possible credit for taxes paid to one’s own state, or vice versa).