Powerball USA Lottery

The Powerball USA-Lottery was launched back in 1992 replacing the then popular Lotto*America. They had their first draw on the 22nd of April 1994. Powerball USA was the first to use the two-drum system, meaning they have a single drum drawing 5 of a possible 69 white ball numbers, and the other drum drawing 1 of a possible 26 red Powerball numbers. This systems concept has allowed them to have higher jackpot odds, multiple prize levels as well as lower overall odds of winning (the potential to have a winning ticket with only one number drawn). The two drum system has been popularised and adapted all over the globe ever since.

Key Facts about Powerball

  1. The Powerball Lottery can be played in only 44 states across the USA. Alaska, Alabama, and Hawaii do not play the lottery, along with Nevada, Mississippi, and Utah.
  2. To win the Jackpot Prize your ticket numbers need to have all 5 white ball numbers as well as the additional red Powerball number for a grand prize of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.
  3. Time to move to Indiana! Did you know that the state where there is most frequently winners is Indiana, with a whopping 39 lottery winners in total across the state. They also claim the most commonly drawn numbers are 16, 22, 26, 32, and 41.
  4. Jackpots begins at $40 million, after which it increases each time that the jackpot is not won, rolling over into the next weeks draw. This quickly builds up and makes it regularly worth hundreds of millions, even exceeding in to billions.

The difference between Powerball and Mega Millions

Both the Powerball USA lottery as well as the Mega-Millions lottery are currently at record highs, worth $620 million and $1.6 billion respectively. Largely both games are fairly similar, $2 being the minimum ticket price and they are both available in the same 44 states. The main difference between them being this; Mega Millions plays with 70 regular number balls instead of Powerballs 69, and 25 red Mega numbers instead of the Powerballs 26. This may seem like a slight difference but the odds of winning end up quite different. To win big on the Mega Millions lottery jackpot, the odds are little over 1 in 300 million, compared to the odds of winning the jackpot for Powerball is 1 in 292 million.

How To Play

The Powerball USA-Lottery is drawn exactly at 10:59pm, Eastern Standard-Time, on the nights of Wednesdays and Saturdays. The official cut off time for buying tickets is 10:00pm ET, though some states may cut off ticket sales earlier.

The player selects 5 numbers and 1 Powerball number. The Powerball number can be a repeat of one of the regular numbers you’ve selected. Players can choose their own lucky numbers, or they can have them randomly picked for them. All that is needed to win is to have a ticket with at least 3 regular numbers drawn, or one Powerball number. For an additional $1 per ticket, players can upgrade to Power Play which activates a multiplier for lower-tiered winners tickets. Multipliers can be x2, x3, x4, x5 and can go as high as x10, but only if the jackpot is below $150 million. You must claim the winning tickets within the state that they were originally bought in. There is a minimum age requirement for those that wish to play, which is 18 years old in most states, except in Nebraska where the legal age is 19, and in Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana where the age is 21.

The minimum amount you can pay is $2 per ticket.

When playing online the payment methods are different from state to state. For example, the Illinios online-lottery system has you simply pick your numbers and amount of tickets, add them to your cart and pay at the check out. Other websites and apps work more like a PayPal account, where you add the funds to your account to buy tickets, and the winnings are transferred back into your account. Some sites may include a membership fee, either fixed, or a percentage based on how much you play and spend.

Odds and Prizes

Numbers Matched Odds Of Winning Prize Money
5 plus the Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 Jackpot
5 1 in 11,688,054 $1 million
4 plus the Powerball 1 in 913,130 $50,000
4 1 in 36,525 $100.00
3 plus the Powerball 1 in 14,494 $100.00
3 1 in 580 $7.00
2 plus the Powerball 1 in 701 $7.00
1 plus the Powerball 1 in 92 $4.00
Powerball alone 1 in 38 $4.00

The odds of winning overall are 1 in 25.

Power Play

The Power Play multiplier is applicable to anyone who opts in for the extra $1 per ticket. The x2, x3, x4, x5 or x10 multiplier is randomly selected before each Powerball draw. The only exception of this is the 5 number match, which is doubled up to $2 million regardless of which multiplier has been selected. The x10 multiplier will only appear if the jackpot is at or below $150 million

Numbers Matched Base Winnings X2 Multiplier X3 Multiplier X4 Multiplier X5 Multiplier X10 Multiplier
Odds of Multiplier 1 in 1.79 1 in 3.23 1 in 14.33 1 in 21.5 1 in 43
5 plus the Powerball Jackpot Jackpot Jackpot Jackpot Jackpot Jackpot
5 $1 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million
4 plus the Powerball $50,000 $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 $250,000 $500,000
4 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1000
3 plus the Powerball $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1000
3 $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
2 plus the Powerball $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
1 plus the powerball $4 $8 $12 $16 $20 $40
Powerball alone  $4  $8  $12  $16  $20  $40

How To Receive Winnings

  1. For the people who live in the USA and play offline there is a time limit to claim your prize, between 90 days and 1 year, depending on which state you are in. You can claim prizes of up to $600 at an authorised lottery retailer. However for larger winning amounts you will need to fill out a claims form and submit it by mail to a regional claims centre, or visit a claims centre in person. Should you win the jackpot you will need to directly contact the state lottery and claim your prize personally.
  2. Tourists who are visiting the USA can certainly play the Powerball Lottery and win. Just like citizens, tourists have the 90 day to 1 year time frame to claim their winnings in the state of ticket purchase. Larger prize winners will have to visit the regional claims centre or the state lottery to claim their prize. If you happen to return home before you are able to claim your prize, you can nominate someone in the state of purchase to claim it on your behalf. Non US taxpayers will also incur expatriation taxes off of their claim, usually between 24-30% depending on how much money was won.
  3. Foreigners outside the USA can use certified apps and online stores such as TheLotter, PlayHugelottos and Lottoland to buy tickets. These ticket messenger services buy Powerball tickets in the US on your behalf, which are then scanned and sent out to an encrypted account for you to access. Prizes are then transferred back to you, once the service employees receive it themselves. However, any jackpot prizes winners who aren’t citizens will need to be in the USA to be able to claim from the state lottery. An airfare seems a little bit poultry when you compare it to all the prize money you’ve just won!

Lumpsum vs Annuity and Taxes on Powerball

If you win the Powerball jackpot you will have a choice to either receive a lump sum cash payment or a graduated annuity paid over 30 years. With the lump sum option you actually receive your prize money in two installments; one with the money made from ticket sales on that particular game, and one of combined funds from the next weeks rollover game. The graduated annuity option has your prize money paid once a year for 30 years, the first payment is made when you claim the winnings. The remainder then gets invested back into the lottery and gains associated profits during the 30 year period. Your prize will grow 5% annually and will be adjusted for things like inflation, and the costs of living.

Generally, lower tiered prize winners don’t have to make a choice between the two options, though some states have different rules. Some states, such as New Jersey, will let you change from annuity to cash (within a 60 day period). Meanwhile in some other states, such as Texas, the choice is bound to the type of ticket you have bought.

Prizes of up to $600 aren’t taxed at all, but any prize winnings between $600 and $5000 will have to be reported on your federal income tax form. Any winnings over $5000 will be subject to be withheld for federal tax purposes, usually between 24-37% is withheld. Depending on which state you reside in you may be subject to different federal or state taxes. Powerball winners who reside in places such as Pennsylvania are subject only to a federal tax, whereas New York will additionally tax you at a state level of over 8%. California, Florida and a few others states do not tax lotto winnings at all, and places such as New Hampshire or Tennessee will only charge you on interest and dividends.

ARIZONA 5% for residents, 6% for non residents
NEW HAMPSHIRE No income tax
CALIFORNIA No state tax
DELAWARE No state tax
FLORIDA No income tax
IDAHO 7.8%
MARYLAND  8.75% for residents, 7% for non residents
NEW YORK 8.82% plus 3.648% for New York City or 0.897% for Yonkers
OHIO   4%
SOUTH DAKOTA No income tax
TENNESSEE No income tax
TEXAS No income tax
WASHINGTON No income tax


Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah do not operate any lottery in their state.

Winner Stories

A Powerball winner from Massachusetts won more than $750 million, after 20 consecutive jackpot rollovers on August 23, 2017. This is one of the biggest jackpot wins by a single ticket holder in history. The winner, Mavis Wanczyk shortly after winning called her employer of 30 years and promptly quit. She opted for the lump sum payment of $480.5 million dollars.

  1. One of Powerballs biggest ever jackpots of $1.56 Billion was won by 3 different tickets. When split, the winnings were $533 million as an annuity before tax or $327 million as a lump sum payment. All 3 ticket winners opted for the lump sum payment.
  2. Jeff Lindsay of California won a $447.8 million jackpot in June 2017, his Powerball ticket bought with the measly winnings of an instant scratchie.
  3. In November 2016 a group of 20 long time co workers from Tennessee won the Powerball jackpot of $420.9 million to be split between them.
  4. $448.4 million was won by separate 3 ticket holders in August 2013. An engineer from Minnesota, a 70 year old retiree from New Jersey, and a group of 16 victims of Hurricane Sandy pooled together the final winning ticket.
  5. Gloria Mackenzie, the 84 year old who hailed from Zephyrhills, Florida won the whopping $590.5 million back in May 2013. She chose the lump cash sum of $370.8 million. She bought her winning ticket from her local Publix store, and was let ahead in the line by another shopper.
  6. $487 million was won by a single New Hampshire ticket holder in July 2016, one of the biggest single winners in history. The winner decided to stay anonymous, and claimed the prize through the Robin Egg trust fund and donated $100,000 to charity.
  7. The biggest Powerball jackpot of 2012 was $587.5 million, won on 28th November by two ticket holders. Matthew Goode of Arizona took half and the other half went to Mark and Cindy Hill of Missouri. The both ticket holders opted for the lump cash payment of $192.3 million each.

New Hampshires biggest winner won the jackpot of $559.7 million on 6th January 2018, after 20 consecutive jackpot rollovers. The winning ticket was bought at a Ferry Market, south of Concord. The winner signed the back of their ticket, but they claimed their winnings anonymously through a trust after a court hearing. They opted for the lump cash payment of $352 million.

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