US Powerball Review

Editor rating:
4.75
Powerball is not just one of the two biggest American lotteries but also one of the largest on the planet. With record-breaking rollover jackpots that start at $40 million and the exciting Powerball Multiplier, this is the kind of lottery that just keeps on giving.
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What we like

Large rollover jackpots
Record holder for world's biggest jackpot
Readily available online

What we dislike

Tough jackpot odds
Prizes subject to taxes

US Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the world. Often producing some of the largest jackpots on record, Powerball is also one of the top online lotteries. Though the game has undergone some significant change throughout its history, the most recent taking place in October 2015, it remains a favourite. In this US Powerball lottery review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the game and how to play it.

About US Powerball

US Powerball is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) and is available in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The only states that do not participate are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah, though Mississippi has plans to join at the end of January 2020. It was first formed on April 19, 1992, though a pre-cursor lottery called Lotto America had run from 1988 to 1992. The first US Powerball drawing took place April 22, 1992.

The most recent change to this incredibly popular American lottery came in October 2015, when the number pool for the main ball was expanded from 59 to 69 and the pool for the extra Powerball was reduced from 35 to 26. This switch improved the overall odds of winning while also helping to generate bigger jackpot prizes.  

US Powerball Draws

US Powerball draws consist of five main pool balls and one Powerball. Draws are bi-weekly and occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Tallahassee, Florida. The numbers are drawn at 10:59pm EST. The numbers are selected randomly using two lottery drums that are set up at the Florida Lottery’s studios.

How to Play US Powerball

Players must choose five numbers for the main pool balls, which includes numbers 1 through 69. They also have the choice of adding a Power Play number, which comes from the Powerball pool. The Powerball pool includes numbers 1 to 26.

Players can easily buy lottery tickets from any seller location in the participating states or the vast majority of online lottery websites. US Powerball tickets cost $2 per line, with the extra Powerball number costing an additional $1 per line. Players can either choose their numbers manually or select the Quick Pick option, which randomly generates numbers. The minimum age to purchase tickets is 18, except in Nebraska, where it is 19, and Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, where it is 21.

US Powerball Logo

US Powerball Prizes and Odds

US Powerball has a rollover jackpot, which means that if there is no player who matches all six numbers, then the jackpot is added to the next draw. This has led to many large jackpots, some totalling over $1 billion. Each jackpot starts at $40,000,000.

 

Matches

 

Prize

Prize with Powerball Multiplier

2x

3x

4x

5x

10x

5 + Powerball

Jackpot

No Multiplier -  Jackpot Only

5

$1,000,000

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

4 + Powerball

$50,000

$100,000

$150,000

$200,000

$250,000

$500,000

4

$100

$200

$300

$400

$500

$1,000

3 + Powerball

$100

$200

$300

$400

$500

$1,000

3

$7

$14

$21

$28

$35

$70

2 + Powerball

$7

$14

$21

$28

$35

$70

1 + Powerball

$4

$8

$12

$16

$20

$40

0 + Powerball

$4

$8

$12

$16

$20

$40

Since the most recent format change in 2015, the odds of winning any prize have improved to 1 in 24.

Numbers Matched

Odds of Winning

5 +Powerball

1 in 292,201,338.00

5

1 in 11,688,053.52

4 + Powerball

1 in 913,129.18

4

1 in 36,525.17

3 + Powerball

1 in 14,494.11

3

1 in 579.76

2 + Powerball

1 in 701.33

1 + Powerball

1 in 91.98

0 + Powerball

1 in 38.32

Claiming US Powerball Prizes

US Powerball winners have between 90 days and calendar one year to claim their jackpot, depending on the state where the ticket was sold. If multiple players have winning tickets for the jackpot, the prize is split evenly between all the winners. Every other prize is a fixed amount. 

Winners have two options for collecting their money. They can either choose for the money to be fully paid as an annuity over 29 years or take a smaller lump sum. The lump sum will be subject to a larger tax deduction than the annuity, though taxes vary by state. Lottery winners in California must only pay federal income tax on their win. The win is not subject to state income tax in Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, and is only subject to interest and dividends in Tennessee and New Hampshire.

If the winner purchased the winning ticket outside of their home state, then they may be subject to the tax requirements of both states. A similar situation also applies to international lottery players, who may have to pay taxes on their winnings to their own governments as well.

Notable Powerball Winners

US Powerball routinely produces some of the most massive jackpots. The largest jackpot in not only Powerball history but international lotto history was $1.58 billion, which was split between three winning tickets on January 13, 2016. The winners were John and Lisa Robinson, Mae and Marvin Acosta, and 70-year-old Maureen Smith. The winners all chose to take the lump sum payment options, which left them each with $327.8 million before taxes. Several of the world's youngest lottery winners also happened to be Powerball winners.

US Powerball-Should You Play?

Powerball is one of the most popular lotteries in not just the US, but also up north in Canada and all around the world. It has consistent bi-weekly draws that regularly include large jackpots and good overall odds for a win, though matching all five numbers and the extra Powerball is a huge challenge. Nevertheless, it’s easy to understand why this lottery has the incredible international following that it does. And the more popular that it gets and the more tickets are sold, the bigger the jackpots grow to-creating a win-win-win situation for everybody.

Powerball - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Powerball payout options?
Powerball winners have the choice to receive their windfall as a single lump-sum payout or in the form of 30 payments over 29 years via the annuity option. If you choose the latter, you will receive an initial payment that is followed by annual payments that increase by 5% each year.
What are the Powerball odds of winning the jackpot?
The Powerball jackpot odds are 1 in 292,201,338.
Can Powerball tickets be purchased online?
Yes, it is very easy to buy lotto tickets for Powerball online, provided you live in one of the six states (Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire or Pennsylvania) that offer online sales, usually by way of a subscription-meaning you cannot purchase one-off tickets. Alternatively, you can sign up with an online lottery site and play Powerball no matter where you live, plus you’ll have access to many other lotteries from around the world.
Can Powerball winners remain anonymous?
Powerball winners can remain anonymous, but only in certain states that give lottery winners the option of staying anonymous. At present, only nine states allow their residents to do so: Texas, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Kansas, South Carolina, New Jersey, North Dakota and Ohio. If you don’t live in one of these states, you might still be able to remain anonymous if revealing your identity would put you at risk or if you set up a trust and have the trust claim the winnings on your behalf.
When does Powerball draw?
Powerball draws take place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 10:59 pm EST.
What was the biggest Powerball jackpot ever?
The biggest Powerball jackpot ever-and the biggest jackpot of any lottery ever-was for the January 13, 2016, draw. It was worth a staggering $1.586 billion and split among three couples from Tennessee, Florida and California.
How much does a Powerball lottery ticket cost?
When purchased within the US, a single Powerball play costs $2 on its own or $3 with the Power Play option.

Comments

Carolyn

I like many things about Powerball, but I LOVE that the Power Play option costs just $1 extra and gives so many additional chances to win.

Steve

It's not an easy game to win, but that doesn't mean I will stop playing it any time soon!

Tom

The jockpots for this game are amaze!

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