Powerball is a multi-state lottery that is currently played in 44 U.S. states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The game regularly offers nine-figure jackpots and in January 2016 it paid out a jackpot of US$1.58 billion, which was shared by three lucky ticket holders. This made it a worldwide phenomenon and you can now even play online from outside of America.
Can I play Powerball in the UK
Yes. There are a number of online providers which allow you to play Powerball from the UK. Some use a concierge service where a person in the USA will go out and physically buy your ticket for you. That ticket will then be scanned and put into your account online so you can see that it has been bought. Others will take a "bet" from you against that lottery. No ticket is physically purchased but you will be paid out the same as if you had actually bought the ticket (the betting companies take out expensive insurance to cover the eventuality of somebody winning). Both types of company are heavily regulated to make sure they will pay out, so your entry money is safe.
How to Play Powerball
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. The 10x Power Play can only be selected when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or less.
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.
U.S. players can buy tickets from retailers in authorised participating states or, in certain states, take part online. Powerball fans from outside the U.S. 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 11,688,054||$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 580||$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 92||$4||$8||$12||$16||$20||$40|
|Powerball only||1 in 38||$4||$8||$12||$16||$20||$40|
|Approx. overall odds of winning a prize: 1 in 25|
*The Power Play x 10 only applies when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or 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 David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith (claiming under 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.