Powerball is the successor of Lotto America which began in 1988. It was changed to Powerball on April 19, 1992. On April 22, 1922, 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 draw. 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 came into light by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery and is in use since then by some of the grand games such as Mega Millions.
Since then Powerball has undergone several structural changes. Let’s discuss some of the major changes -
In 2012, the price of each basic Powerball play was doubled to $2, while PowerPlay games became $3, 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 Univeral 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 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. This 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 three winning tickets in California, Florida, and Tennessee.