How To Play Powerball - Brief History And A Detailed Guide

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 21,2020 | Time: 11:24 am | Edited by: The Lottery Lab Staff

Playing a lottery always revolves around the ultimate low-risk, high reward scenario. If you are in a winning situation the payoff will reward you a lifetime of easy living. And if you lose, it’s just a few dollars, the cost of your bet. So, why not take a chance with million-dollar games such as Powerball and Mega Millions!

Powerball is a multi-state lottery game operated in the United States by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). MUSL is a non-profit organization formed by an agreement between US lottery commissions. Powerball was first offered in 1992 and has grown to be played in 47 states including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball’s advertised minimum jackpot is $40 million. Each Powerball ticket costs $2, while the optional Powerplay costs an additional $1, consequently the ticket price to $3.

Read More - 5 Tips To Play Powerball Lottery

The Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Individual states set cut off timings for the sale of Powerball tickets. The Lottery drawings are usually held at the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee. You can access the winning numbers on the official website of Powerball or Sign Up for complete statistical data analysis of the Powerball results. To be precise, Powerball works on an objective of picking a total of six (6) numbers and hope that the numbers drawn match the ones you picked. 

Tracing The History Of Powerball Lottery

Powerball has its roots in a multi-state lottery called Lotto America which began in 1988. The game was officially changed to Powerball on April 19, 1992. On April 22, 1992, the first drawing was held with Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Idaho, Hoosier (Indiana), Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia as the participants. 

Powerball was the first lottery to use two drums for the drawing. Using two drums in the game offers more manipulation by simultaneously allowing high jackpot odds, numerous prize levels and low overall odds of winning. The two drum concept was proposed by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery and has become a popular format in the grand games such as Mega Millions and local favorites such as Texas Two-Step, California's Super Lotto Plus, and the New York Lotto. The two drums of the game comprise of white balls and red balls. The white balls are the traditional white balls or regular numbers which can be matched in any order. Then comes the red balls or the “Powerballs” which are required to win the jackpot. 

With the advent of 1992, the Powerball started, it was $1 per play with the Jackpot starting at $2 Million. The Jackpot amount went through multiple changes from that time onwards. It started with $2 Million, growing to $10 Million in 1997, $15 Million in 2005, $20 Million in 2009 and finally to $40 Million with the 2012 changes. The odds of winning the jackpot in 2012 were 1 in 175,223,510. 

Since then Powerball has undergone several structural changes. Let’s discuss some of the major changes -

The Changes Of 2012

In 2012, the price of each basic Powerball ticket was doubled to $2, while the PowerPlay game became $3 from $2, and the minimum jackpot doubled to $40 million. A non-jackpot play in which five white balls matched won $1 million. The pool of red balls was decreased from 39 to 35. The drawings were shifted to Florida Lottery’s Studio in Tallahassee from Universal Studios Orlando. These changes were drafted to increase the frequency of nine-figure jackpots. The Power Play multiplier was retired for a set, fixed dollar amount payout. In 2012, the Power Play option returned for multiplying the non-jackpot prizes.

The Changes Of 2015

The October 2015 version of the Powerball debuted with enhancements aimed at delivering bigger jackpots and more overall winners. The game structure changed; the number of white balls increased from 59 to 69, while the number of red balls dropped from 35 to 26. Therefore, the matrix improved the chance of winning any prize to 1 in 24, and also lengthened the jackpot odds to 1 in 292,201,338. Even the Power Play feature was enhanced with a 10X multiplier that is available for play whenever the advertised jackpot annuity is $150 million or less.

On January 13, 2016, Powerball set a world record jackpot of $1.586 billion. The prize was shared equally among the three winning tickets in California, Florida, and Tennessee.

How To Play Powerball


Powerball Playing Options -

1. Ask for a Play-Slip from the lottery retailer and mark your desired numbers, Or

2.  Skip the Play-Slip and ask for Quick Pick, to let the lottery terminal randomly generate lucky numbers for you.

Want To Win!

It costs $2 per Powerball play. For each play, the player has to select five distinct numbers from a set of 69 white balls and one number from 26 red ‘Powerballs’. The number of ‘Powerball’ ball can be the same as one of the first five numbers because it is drawn from a separate number pool from the first five numbers. The winning numbers are selected using two ball machines: one containing the white balls and the other containing the red Powerballs. The machine with 5 white balls draws 5 whites whereas the other machine draws 1 red Powerball that is a total of 6 balls. For the machining of your lottery numbers, you should have at least 3 white balls and 1 red ball, the same as the draw, to win.

The Powerball Lottery Jackpot starts at $40 million and grows by a minimum of $10 million each time a drawing has no jackpot winner(s). The table below shows the odds of winning the Powerball lottery -

Where To Play

The Powerball lottery is played in 44 states along with  Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

The Results Of Powerball

The Drawings for Powerball are held twice a week, i.e., Wednesday and Saturday every evening at 10:59 pm ET. You can visit the official website to check out the winning numbers or check the local newspapers and local lottery retailers.

How Will You Receive Your Powerball Jackpot Lottery?

After being a Jackpot winner, you have 2 payout options - the annuity and the lump-sum or the cash payout option. You need to opt for either of the two.

The Annuity Option

When you go for this option, your jackpot amount will be paid over 29 years, with 5% more each year, than the year before. Individual annuity payments increase by 5%  to keep pace with inflation. However, if the winner passes away, the heirs will continue to receive the annuity payments. With the annuity option, you need to pay taxes according to your winnings per year.

The Lump-sum or The Cash Option

The cash option means that you will receive the entire jackpot all at once and hence this means that you are responsible for taxes on the whole amount at once.

The lump-sum payment is less than the total cash value of the annuity payout, because of the time value of money and also because a larger sum of money will be taxed at a greater rate than 30 installments each taxed at a lower rate.

Prizes up to $599 can be redeemed at the authorized lottery retail store, without any hassle.

Prizes above $599 can be claimed at the official office of Powerball by filling out the claim form.

Claiming Your Powerball Winnings

The claiming of the winning ticket should be claimed in the same jurisdiction, in which it was purchased. The minimum legal age to play Powerball is 18, except in Nebraska, where it is 19 and Arizona, Iowa, and Louisiana has 21. The winnings in California are subject to Federal income tax only.  Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are excluded from the state income tax. The Powerballs prizes should be claimed within a period ranging from 90 days to a year, depending on where the ticket was bought. The Powerball lottery states that winnings from tickets purchased outside of one's home state may be subject to the income tax laws of both the states.

For more information on lottery games in the U.S. with their results and complete data analysis, Sign Up on The Lottery Lab.

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