From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the U.S. lottery game. For the official Australian reseller of US Powerball game, see The Lottery Office. For other uses, see Powerball (disambiguation).
How to Play
Play like a pro : Lotto America® costs $1 per play.
Select five numbers from 1 to 52 for the red balls, then select one number from 1 to 10 for the Lotto America Star Ball®.
Choose your numbers on a play slip or let the lottery terminal randomly pick your numbers.
Players win the Grand Prize or one of 8 set cash prizes by matching one of the 9 ways to win.
Powerball is an American lottery game offered by 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). From its inaugural drawing on April 19, 1992, until August 21, 2021, Powerball drawings were held twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday); a third weekly drawing (held Mondays) was added on August 23, 2021. Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time, at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.
Since October 7, 2015, the game has used a 5/69 (white balls) + 1/26 (Powerballs) matrix from which winning numbers are chosen, resulting in odds of 1 in 292,201,338 of winning a jackpot per play. Each play costs $2 or $3 with the Power Play option (originally, Powerball plays cost $1; when Power Play began, such games were $2). The official cutoff for ticket sales is 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time; some lotteries cut off sales earlier.
The drawings are held at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee. Powerball’s minimum advertised jackpot is $20 million (annuity); Powerball’s annuity is paid in 30 graduated installments over 29 years, or winners may choose a lump sum payment instead (cash option). One lump sum payment will be less than the total of the 30 annual payments because with the annuity option each yearly payment is increased by 5%.
On February 8, 2023, Powerball produced the largest lottery jackpot in history which was won by a ticket purchased in Altadena, California.
The numbers were originally drawn in West Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. Drawing to their current home in Tallahassee in 2012.
Powerball replaced Lotto*America in April 1992; Mega Millions replaced The Big Game 10 years later (See below for the evolution of the name Mega Millions.).
Mega Millions and Powerball
|Arizona||April 4, 1994||April 18, 2010|
|Arkansas||October 31, 2009||January 31, 2010|
|California||April 8, 2013||June 22, 2005|
|Connecticut||November 28, 1995||January 31, 2010|
|Colorado||August 2, 2001||May 16, 2010|
|Delaware||January 14, 1991||January 31, 2010|
|District of Columbia||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|Florida (flagship lottery)||January 4, 2009||May 15, 2013|
|Georgia||January 31, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Idaho||February 1, 1990||January 31, 2010|
|Illinois||January 31, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Indiana||October 14, 1990||January 31, 2010|
|Iowa||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|Kansas||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|Kentucky||January 10, 1991||January 31, 2010|
|Louisiana||March 5, 1995||November 16, 2011|
|Maine||July 30, 2004||May 9, 2010|
|Maryland||January 31, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Massachusetts||February 3, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Michigan||January 31, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Minnesota||August 14, 1990||January 31, 2010|
|Mississippi||January 30, 2020||January 30, 2020|
|Missouri||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|Montana||November 9, 1989||March 1, 2010|
|Nebraska||July 21, 1994||March 20, 2010|
|New Hampshire||November 5, 1995||January 31, 2010|
|New Jersey||January 31, 2010||May 26, 1999|
|New Mexico||October 20, 1996||January 31, 2010|
|New York||January 31, 2010||May 17, 2002|
|North Carolina||May 30, 2006||January 31, 2010|
|North Dakota||March 25, 2004||January 31, 2010|
|Ohio||April 16, 2010||May 17, 2002|
|Oklahoma||January 12, 2006||January 31, 2010|
|Oregon||February 13, 1988||March 28, 2010|
|Pennsylvania||June 29, 2002||January 31, 2010|
|Puerto Rico||September 28, 2014||Not offered|
|Rhode Island||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|South Carolina||October 6, 2002||January 31, 2010|
|South Dakota||November 15, 1990||May 16, 2010|
|Tennessee||April 21, 2004||January 31, 2010|
|Texas||January 31, 2010||December 5, 2003|
|US Virgin Islands||November 14, 2010||October 4, 2010|
|Vermont||July 1, 2003||January 31, 2010|
|Virginia||January 31, 2010||September 6, 1996|
|Washington||January 31, 2010||September 4, 2002|
|West Virginia||February 13, 1988||January 31, 2010|
|Wisconsin||August 10, 1989||January 31, 2010|
|Wyoming||August 24, 2014||August 24, 2014|
1988 precursor: Lotto America
Powerball’s predecessor began in 1988; the multi-state game was known as Lotto America. The game, and name, were changed to Powerball on April 19, 1992; its first drawing was held April 22.
Dr. Edward J. Stanek was president of the Iowa Lottery, and along with Steve Caputo, came up with the Powerball game.
When it was launched in 1992 Powerball became the first game to use two drums. Using two drums to draw numbers from offers more manipulation by simultaneously allowing low jackpot odds, numerous prize levels and high overall odds of winning (as explained later, a ticket can win by matching only one number).
The two-drum concept was suggested by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery. The two-drum concept has since been used by The Big Game (now Mega Millions) in the US, Australia’s Powerball, Thunderball in the UK, Eurojackpot and EuroMillions.
Through 2008, Powerball drawings usually were held at Screenscape Studios in West Des Moines, Iowa. The drawings’ host was longtime Iowa radio personality Mike Pace, who had hosted MUSL drawings since Lotto America began in 1988. In 1996, Powerball went “on the road” for the first time, holding five remote drawings at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. A few weeks later, Georgia became the only jurisdiction to leave Powerball (Maine, which joined MUSL in 1990, left when Powerball began).
In August 1996, Georgia joined the then-new The Big Game, then the other major U.S. lottery group. It planned to sell tickets for both games for the rest of 1996; but within days Georgia was removed from MUSL, not to return until the 2010 cross-sell expansion.
On November 2, 1997, the annuity was changed from 20 to 25 yearly payments; the cash option was added.[failed verification]
In 1998, Florida was given permission by its government to participate in a multi-state game. It was set to offer Powerball; but in early 1999, new governor Jeb Bush prevented Florida from joining since he believed Powerball would hurt the existing Florida Lottery games. In 2008, Governor Charlie Crist finally allowed Florida to join MUSL, on January 4, 2009.
On March 7, 2001, an optional multiplier (called Power Play) was added, allowing players to multiply non-jackpot winnings by up to five by paying an extra $1 per game. A wheel was introduced to select the Power Play multiplier for each drawing (the next year, the 1x was removed from the Power Play wheel.)
2009: Florida became host to drawings
With the start of Powerball sales in Florida on January 4, 2009 (with its first drawing on January 7), the matrices changed to 5/59 + 1/39 (adding four white ball numbers and dropping three red balls). This changed the jackpot probability from 1:146 million to 1:195 million; the overall probability became 1:35.
Based on statistical projections, the average jackpot win increased from $95 million to $141 million. Over 3.5 million additional prizes were expected to be won yearly due to the change in probability. The starting jackpot increased to $20 million, with minimum rollovers of $5 million.
The jackpot contribution increased from 30.3% to 32.5% of total sales. The Power Play option was modified; second prize, usually $200,000, was given an automatic 5x multiplier, making the 5+0 prize $1 million cash. The bonus second prize if the jackpot exceeded its previous record by $25 million, triggered only twice, was eliminated with the 2012 format change.
The conditions for Florida joining Powerball included a move of the live drawings from Iowa to Universal Studios in Orlando. The three hosts rotating announcing duties from Universal Studios were Tracy Wiu, Elizabeth Hart and Scott Adams (MUSL headquarters remained in Iowa, where its other draws are held).
The wheel that was used to determine the Power Play multiplier was retired when the drawings moved to Florida; a random number generator (RNG) was used until the 2012 format change.
Arkansas became the 33rd MUSL member on October 31, 2009, the last to join before the 2010 cross-sell expansion. The Ohio Lottery added Powerball on April 16, 2010, it joined Mega Millions (along with New York) years earlier, when The Big Game added Mega Millions to its name.
2010 cross-sell expansion
In March 2009, it was reported that New Jersey, already a Mega Millions member, sought permission to join Powerball. Shortly after, discussions were revealed about allowing each US lottery to offer both games. On October 13, the Mega Millions consortium and MUSL reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball. In November, MUSL signed an agreement to start streaming Powerball drawings online.
On January 31, 2010, the date of the cross-sell expansion, Mega Millions and MUSL each added lotteries; eight Powerball members added Mega Millions by May. The Montana Lottery joined Mega Millions on March 1, 2010.
Nebraska added Mega Millions on March 20, 2010, Oregon followed on March 28, 2010, Arizona joined Mega Millions on April 18, 2010, Maine added Mega Millions on May 9, 2010, Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions on May 16, 2010. The U.S. Virgin Islands joined Mega Millions in October 2010.
Before the agreement, the only places that sold both Mega Millions and Powerball tickets were retailers straddling a border; one retailer on the Sharon, Pennsylvania/Masury, Ohio border sold both Mega Millions (via the Ohio Lottery) and Powerball (Pennsylvania) before the agreement and continued to be the only retailer to sell tickets for both lotteries.
Illinois joining Powerball on the expansion date, it became the second multi-jurisdictional lottery game (after Mega Millions, which Illinois already participated in) whose drawings were carried nationally. Both games’ drawings were simulcast via Chicago cable superstation WGN-TV through its national WGN America feed. WGN-TV aired Illinois Lottery drawings nationally from 1992 to 2015 after acquiring broadcast rights from Chicago’s Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD in 1988, which took the rights from WGN-TV in 1987.
Powerball drawings were aired on WGN-TV and WGN America on Wednesday and Saturday immediately following the station’s 9:00 p.m. (Central Time) newscast with the Mega Millions drawings being aired Tue and Fri evenings after the newscast. WGN served as a default carrier of Mega Millions or Powerball where no local television station carries either multi-jurisdictional lottery’s drawings.
On March 13, 2010, New Jersey became the first previous Mega Millions-only member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket. It was worth over $211 million in annuity payments; it was sold in Morris Plains.
On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first previous MUSL member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket; that jackpot was $12 million (annuity).
On June 2, 2010, Ohio won a Powerball jackpot; it became the first lottery selling either Mega Millions or Powerball (when 2010 began) to provide a jackpot-winning ticket for its newer game. The ticket was worth a $261 million annuity; it was sold in Sunbury.
Ohio’s second Powerball jackpot-winning ticket, sold for the June 23, 2010 drawing, was part of another first; since Montana also provided a jackpot winner for that drawing, it was the first time a jackpot was shared through lotteries which sold competing games before the cross-selling expansion, as Montana sold only Powerball before the expansion date.
2012 format change
On January 15, 2012, the price of each basic Powerball play doubled to $2, while PowerPlay games became $3; the minimum jackpot doubled to $40 million. A non-jackpot play matching the five white balls won $1 million.
The red balls decreased from 39 to 35. The drawings were moved from Universal Studios Orlando to the Florida Lottery’s studios in Tallahassee. Sam Arlen began his tenure as host in 2012, with Laura W. Johnson served as Arlen’s co-host.
These changes were made to increase the frequency of nine-figure jackpots; a Powerball spokesperson believed a $500 million jackpot was feasible (it became a reality within the year,) and that the first $1 billion jackpot in US history would occur by 2012 (though it didn’t occur until 4 years later.) Less than three months after the Powerball changes, Mega Millions’ jackpot reached $656,000,000 despite remaining a $1-per-play game.
The random Power Play multiplier was retired for a set, fixed dollar amount payout. The $25 million rollover “cap” (creating larger 5+0 prizes) was eliminated.
California joined on April 8, 2013; it has never offered the Power Play option, as all payouts in California Lottery drawing games, by law, are parimutuel. Mega Millions, which became available in California in 2005, offers its Megaplier in its other 45 jurisdictions.
On January 22, 2014, the variable Power Play option returned (2x-5x) for multiplying non-jackpot prizes.
In October 2014, Puerto Rico joined Powerball; the first mainly Spanish-speaking jurisdiction offering the game; as of 2016 it had not joined Mega Millions.
2015 format change
On October 4, 2015, the Powerball format changed again; the white-ball pool increased from 59 to 69 while the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. While this improved the chance of winning any prize to 1 in 24, it also lengthened the jackpot odds to 1 in 292,201,338.
The 4+1 prize became $50,000; the 10x PowerPlay became available in drawings with a jackpot of under $150 million. Three months later, the format produced a $1.5 billion jackpot, double the previous record, after 20 consecutive rollovers.
2020 COVID-19 adjustments and 2021 provisional removal by Idaho
On April 2, 2020, the Powerball starting jackpot amount was temporarily reset from $40 million to $20 million with the annuity option, with at least a $2 million rollover for each drawing without a jackpot winner, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
This was done to enforce social distancing and discourage crowding of selling venues for large jackpots, and to account for lower interest rates.
On March 10, 2021, following Powerball’s move to expand its operations in Australia later that year and in the United Kingdom in 2022, the Idaho Legislature voted overwhelmingly to end the state’s participation in the lottery after more than 30 years.
State lawmakers cited fears of outside revenue being generated from the foreign involvement as reasons behind the vote. The removal would have taken place when non-US jurisdictions were allowed to join in August 2021, but was rendered moot when the expansion was put on hold.
On May 23, 2021, Powerball announced that starting on August 23, 2021, draws would occur on Monday, in addition to Wednesday and Saturday. All other features remain the same.
Michele Lyles became the third regular hostess of the Powerball drawings serving alongside Arlen and Johnson. Beginning in 2022, Randy Trainor serves as a substitute host if neither Arlen, Johnson or Lyles are available.
The scheduled November 7, 2022 drawing of the record-breaking $2.04B jackpot was delayed due the incomplete security protocols regarding ticket sales at an unnamed lottery until the next day at 8:59 a.m. EST. Prior to the November 7 delay, there had been delays on April 9 and October 19 in 2022.
The Minnesota Lottery announced later that day that it had been responsible for the delay.
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