According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Powerball has the highest average number of jackpot winners than any other lottery aside from the Spanish Christmas Lottery.
Prize categories and odds
The Powerball is America's premier lottery game, offering the potential for some fantastic prize giveaways. There are nine ways of winning and the simple premise of the game is to select five white balls (from a choice of one to 69) and one red Powerball (from a choice of one to 26).
The jackpot is won if all five white balls match in any order, as well as the red Powerball. However, the drawn Powerball number cannot be used to match one of the white balls numbers or vice versa. The jackpot prize money can either be paid out in one lump sum, or over 29 years in 30 separate payments.
The Powerball has encouraging overall odds with a 1 in 25 chance of winning a prize.
The popularity of the game has soared due to the huge values that the jackpots have reached as a result of various rollovers. The second tier prize (for matching the first five numbers but not the Powerball) is an attractive $1 million.
Below is a breakdown of all nine prize categories and the Powerball odds:
|Rank 1||5 + 1||Jackpot||1 in 292,201,338|
|Rank 2||5 + 0||$1,000,000||1 in 11,688,053.52|
|Rank 3||4 + 1||$10,000||1 in 913,129.18|
|Rank 4||4 + 0||$100||1 in 36,525.17|
|Rank 5||3 + 1||$100||1 in 14,494.11|
|Rank 6||3 + 0||$7||1 in 579.76|
|Rank 7||2 + 1||$7||1 in 701.33|
|Rank 8||1 + 1||$4||1 in 91.98|
|Rank 9||0 + 1||$4||1 in 38.92|
The draws for the game take place every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time in Tallahassee, Florida. To claim prizes, ticket expiration periods vary from state to state, from 90 days to one year.
Winners and losers of the Powerball lottery
Past winners of the Powerball have provided us with great news of success. Eighty-four-year-old Gloria MacKenzie is a great example. In 2013, she purchased a "quick pick" random ticket which resulted in her winning a mammoth $590 million, which is one of the largest Powerball jackpots in history.
Here are the highest Powerball jackpots won so far:
$1,586.4 million won by 3 tickets (CA, FL, TN) on January 13, 2016
$768.4 million won by 1 ticket (WI) on March 27, 2019
$758.7 million won by 1 ticket (MA) on August 23, 2017
In 2020, a ticket sold in Florida won $396.9 million in the January 29 draw.
Powerball Game History and Background
Powerball Game History
The Powerball’s predecessor was known as ‘Lotto America’ and began in 1988, before changing to ‘Powerball’ on April 19th, 1992. A significant change was seen in November of 1997, when the annuity was changed from 20 to 25 yearly payments and the option to receive cash winnings was added. As of today, if a winner chooses the annuity they will receive an immediate payment and then 29 yearly payments, for a total of 30 years.
In a re-structuring operation in 2009, the format of the game was changed by adding four white ball numbers and dropping three red ball numbers in order to increase the odds. This effectively increased probability, which in turn had a positive effect on jackpots and saw the quantity of cash prizes increase by over 3.5 million. This saw the Powerball overtake much of its competition to become one of the most popular lotteries in the US.
The guaranteed minimum jackpot used to be $40 million, increasing by a minimum of $10 million with each rollover.
As from April 2020 and as a consequence of the health crisis, the starting jackpot amount as well as the increase after each draw are determined by the ticket sales and the interest rates. Those changes were required because the lottery players changed their patterns following the pandemia.
A little more background
The Powerball is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA) which is a non-profit, government owned association, operated by an agreement with various U.S lotteries. The MUSL was formed by seven American lotteries in 1987, launching its first game in 1987. The money retained by the MSLA is used by state legislature towards charity funds for positive causes.
The Powerball is able to boast one of the biggest jackpot giveaways of $590 million for a single ticket holder. To put that into context, that amount is what the 20 poorest countries in the world combined spend annually on health and education.