Powerball is a multi-state lottery that is currently played in 44 US states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The game regularly offers nine-figure jackpots and currently holds the record for the largest jackpot in history, having grown to a staggering US$1.58 billion in January 2016. This made it a worldwide phenomenon and you can now play online from outside of America.
How to Play
Powerball draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening, with players required to select five main numbers between 1 and 69 and one Powerball from 1 to 26.
There is also the option to select Power Play for an additional fee. A Power Play number of either 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 is drawn before the main game and non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by that amount. The exception is the second-tier prize of US$1 million, which is capped at US$2 million no matter which multiplier is drawn.
Players can win prizes just by matching the Powerball, while the jackpot is given away if anyone matches all five main numbers plus the Powerball. The top prize starts at $40 million and rolls over when it is not won.
US players can buy tickets from retailers in authorised participating states or, in some cases, take part online. Powerball fans from outside the US are able to win all the same prizes by choosing numbers online through sites such as Jackpot.com. Rather than buying tickets, it is a case of betting on the results, and you just have to select your game, pick your numbers and decide how many lines to enter.
Prizes & Odds
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, but the chances of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87. Here are the odds of winning in each of the nine prize tiers, plus details of how the Power Play multipliers (x2, x3, x4, x5 and x10) can increase your payout.
|Matched||Odds of Winning||Prize||x2||x3||x4||x5||x10*|
|5 main numbers + Powerball||1 in 292,201,338||Jackpot||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|5 main numbers||1 in 11,688,053||$1 million||$2 million||$2 million||$2 million||$2 million||$2 million|
|4 main numbers + Powerball||1 in 913,129||$50,000||$100,000||$150,000||$200,000||$250,000||$500,000|
|4 main numbers||1 in 36,525||$100||$200||$300||$400||$500||$1,000|
|3 main numbers + Powerball||1 in 14,494||$100||$200||$300||$400||$500||$1,000|
|3 main numbers||1 in 579||$7||$14||$21||$28||$35||$70|
|2 main numbers + Powerball||1 in 701||$7||$14||$21||$28||$35||$70|
|1 main number + Powerball||1 in 91||$4||$8||$12||$16||$20||$40|
|Powerball only||1 in 38||$3||$6||$9||$12||$16||$20|
|Approx. overall odds of winning a prize: 1 in 24|
*The Power Play x 10 only applies when the advertised jackpot is $150 million is less.
History & Biggest Jackpots
Powerball was first drawn in April 1992, having developed from an earlier game called Lotto*America. More states joined over the years and in 2010 Powerball and Mega Millions reached an agreement in which state lotteries could offer tickets for both games as opposed to one or the other.
Jackpots were originally only paid as an annuity spread over 20 years, but in 1997 that changed to 25 years and the option was added to take a reduced cash lump sum. The annuity currently stands at 30 payments over 29 years.
Powerball often creates huge jackpots, the biggest of which was $1.58 billion, shared by the Nickel 95 Trust from Florida, Tennessee’s John and Lisa Robinson and Marvin and Mae Acosta from California on Wednesday 13th January 2016. Each of the winning tickets received $528.8 million, or a cash payment of $327.8 million.
Another record was set on 23rd August 2017, this time for the largest jackpot won on a single ticket, when Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts scooped $758.7 million. She came forward the very next day, having already quit her job as a hospital worker.