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The story of the USA Powerball Lotto


The American Powerball began in 1988 and was first known as "Lotto America." In 1992, it changed its name to the Powerball Lottery, with the first official Powerball draw held on 19 April 1992. Over the years, more states joined in; with the number now at 44.

Several changes to the structure were also implemented; annuity prize payments changed from 20 yearly payments to 30 and a cash option for the jackpot was added.The best improvement was when lottery players were given the chance to buy their Powerball Lotto tickets online.


How the US Powerball works


The American Powerball lottery makes use of two machines drawing two sets of numbers. In this way it’s most similar to Mega Millions and EuroMillions Lottery

  • Lottery players need to select: 5 numbers from a possible 69 (the white numbers)
  • 1 number from a possible 26 (the red ‘powerballs’)

If a player matches all 6 numbers drawn, the jackpot is theirs! This game matrix is designed to create more rollovers and even bigger jackpots, which happened in January 2016. The jackpot rolled to an unbelievable $1.5 billion, sending the world into a lottery frenzy.


USA Powerball rollovers and giant jackpots


With the newest changes, lottery players now have a 1 in 24.87 chance of winning a prize; the real challenge is winning the jackpot. With such big amounts to win, it’s little wonder the Powerball is America’s most popular lottery. The starting jackpot, before any rollovers have taken place, is $40 million with a 2nd tier prize of $1 million. One does not even need to match all 6 numbers to become a millionaire on American Powerball.

The biggest Powerball jackpot mentioned earlier, which was a whopping $1.5 billion, was won on 13 January 2016, by three ticket holders from California, Florida, and Tennessee. This was the largest jackpot ever won in lottery history.

The second biggest jackpot ever won on the USA Powerball was a giant $590.5 million won by one lucky ticket holder on 18 May 2013.

The third biggest jackpot ever won on the USA Powerball was an amazing $580 million won by two ticket holders on the 28 November 2012.


Cash jackpot versus annuity prize


The minimum jackpot prize is a $40 million annuity disbursed in 30 payments. The 30 annuity payments are not equal but based on an increasing rate schedule. 

The winner gets the first payment immediately, and then receives a guaranteed annual payment for the next 29 years.


How to play 


  • Choose 5 numbers from a possible 69 numbers
  • Choose 1 number, the red “Powerball,” from a possible 26 numbers


When to play


  • The US Powerball draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 22:59 (ET) in Florida, USA