US Powerball Review
It’s easy to understand the popularity of the US Powerball lottery with the prizes offered in their bi-weekly draws. The largest jackpot to date was in mid-January 2016 at $1.56 billion. This is a rollover lottery that grows and grows fast! It began life in 1978 as “Lotto America”, but evolved into its present form in 1992.
How Does the US Powerball Work?
US Powerball involves picking five white balls between 1 to 69 and one red ball between 1 to 26. Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 pm at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida two drums are used to randomly select the winning numbers. The jackpot is shared between anyone who has the winning lottery ticket. All other prizes are a fixed amount, though MUSL does qualify this in that the prize could be reduced if wins exceed the available prize fund.
Currently, Powerball tickets can be purchased officially in 44 of the US states. Here’s an official Powerball map that shows where the game has been legalized in the country. The only 6 states where Poweball tickets CANNOT be purchased include Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, Utah, Alaska and Hawaii.
International players are a bit luckier when it comes to Powerball than some of the people living in the US. Online lottery agents have made it possible for these people to buy tickets for some of the most popular lotteries in the world. The Powerball is no exception. It’s possible to become a PowerBall jackpot winner, even if you’re not a US citizen. There are no restrictions and the very same rules that apply to US players will also apply to you.
If you’re an international player, keep in mind that you’ll have to check the local tax regulations. These will apply and potentially cut the amount you’ve won by playing one of the most popular lotteries with some of the biggest jackpots (we’ll come to this PowerBall feature later).
Choose Your Winning US Powerball Numbers!
Players can choose their five numbers for each ticket or can opt for a ‘Quick Pick’. Each ticket line costs US$1. Online lotteries charge more for the service of buying your ticket.
Power Play at US Powerball
There is also an additional choice of “Power Play” which increases any winnings excluding the Jackpot (though you must have a red ball number to win that). This is where the sixth number comes in. You win any time you match the red Powerball. The price is $1 per ticket line in addition to the $1 ticket line price.
How Would You Like Your Winnings to be Paid?
The Powerball odds of winning and the prizes are presented in the table below. Still, here are some of the most interesting facts that you’re definitely eager to get your hands on. This is a 5 of 69 game that also features a Powerball, which means that the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. Powerball, however, is a lottery that features numerous ways to win. The overall odds of getting any awards are 1 in 24.87, which sounds a whole lot better.
Players have the choice of collecting their winnings for the jackpot over a 29 year period (annuity) or in a lump sum. The lump sum payment is adjusted against the value of the investment of the annuity.
The biggest Powerball jackpot ever fell in mid-January 2016 (that’s right, a lucky start of the year for some!). It reached the unbelievable 1.56 billion dollars and the amount is to be split among three winners. Each of the winners is to get about 533 million dollars each before taxes. If the winners choose a lump sum payment, their millions will go down to 327.8. This particular draw was surrounded (naturally) by the biggest Powerball craze ever. More than 635 million tickets were sold and more than 26 million of those tickets won some prize. There were 73 tickets that won one million dollars.
On August 23, 2017 the second-biggest jackpot in U.S. history fall. Mavis Wanczyk, 53-year-old Massachusets hospital worker, won $758.7 million jackpot. She used birthday dates to pick the numbers and this tactic brings her the largest prize from a single lottery ticket in the history of the USA. Needless to say, Wanczyk chose a lump-sum payment of $480M ($336M after taxes) instead of annuity payments.
There are many other stories about impressive Powerball wins. In 2015, Julie Leach from Michigan hit the 310.5 million dollar jackpot. It’s interesting to point out that Julie didn’t go for annuity payments. Instead, she decided to collect the entire jackpot, losing a significant portion because of taxes. The cash lump sum came up to 197.417 million dollars.
Another impressive sum was won in February 2015. There were three winning tickets for the February 11th drawing that had a jackpot of 564 million dollars. The three tickets were purchased in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas. All three of the winners chose to receive their money as a lump sum.
All prizes must be claimed in the state where the ticket was purchased. Prizes up to $600 are claimed at any retailer. Prizes over $600 can be claimed at a super retailer or at the lottery office of that state. Claim forms and addresses are available online with any of our approved lottery ticket sellers!
The players that own a winning ticket have 365 days to claim their prize. If the prize isn’t claimed within the period, the money will go to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and allocated to good causes or charities.
The following are the odds of winning the US Powerball:
|Powerball Numbers Matched||Prize||Prize With Power Play||Odds of winning|
|5 numbers + Powerball||Grand Prize||No Power Play||1 in 292,201,338.00|
|5 numbers||$1,000,000||$2,000,000||1 in 11,688,053.52|
|4 numbers + Powerball||$50,000||$100,000||1 in 913,129.18|
|4 numbers||$100||$200||1 in 36,525.17|
|3 numbers + Powerball||$100||$200||1 in 14,494.11|
|3 numbers||$7||$14||1 in 579.76|
|2 numbers + Powerball||$7||$14||1 in 701.33|
|1 number + Powerball||$4||$8||1 in 91.98|
|Powerball only||$4||$8||1 in 38.32|
Who is US Powerball?
US Powerball is owned and operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) which is a non-profit, government-benefit association owned and operated by its member lotteries. These members are different states in the USA. Each state keeps the profits from tickets purchased in that state to fund projects which each of their legislatures approve. The game is actually played through 42 states (supposed to go to 45 by 2013).
Customer Support at US Powerball
US Powerball’s home site online only offers a snail mail address for MUSL. There is no other way to contact them. Clicking on support or the email emblem only opens up an FAQ. Their home site is an information site only – not somewhere to come and play. Most people would contact their local state lottery who they would be purchasing their tickets through to ask questions and find out more information and many of these do offer email, online forms and telephone numbers. Some even offer live chat!
So Whose Laws Apply to US Powerball?
It’s important to remember that US Powerball is governed by the state the ticket is purchased in. It also includes any taxes applicable which differ from state to state. For overseas lottery ticket winners, a flat 30% tax is withheld above the state tax.
Hang on – More On Power Play
If a player does not opt to play “Power Play” at US Powerball, they are not eligible for the jackpot so in reality the actual cost of a ticket line is $2. Choose to pick only five numbers from the white ball section of the ticket and the top prize is $1,000,000. Okay, that’s good money, but it’s irresistible not to pay the additional $1 and go for the big jackpot. Why not make it a standard part of play and simply charge $2 per ticket line?
A Few Interesting Facts about Powerball
There are so many interesting facts about Powerball that it’s a bit difficult to pick just a few.
For a start, did you know that certain states have a much higher number of Powerball winners than others? According to the experts, it’s pure coincidence, but you never know. Pennsylvania is one of those states with 16 jackpot winners. Over the past three years, there have been three jackpot winners from Missouri and three from Tennessee.
Nearly 75 percent of the big Powerball winners used randomly pick numbers. These are computer-generated tickets that select the numbers completely at random. Experts advise individuals that want to use their own numbers on the ticket to spread them out among the possible options.
The numbers drawn most commonly in Powerball are 8, 14, 29, 39 and 54. The most common Powerballs are 7 and 17. Numbers in the range of the 60s aren’t picked that often, so you may want to reconsider your selections. Of all Powerball numbers, the least picked one is 4.
And here’s a fun one to wrap things up. In March 2005, the Powerball drawing had the unprecedented number of 110 second prize winners. These individuals split more than 19 million dollars between themselves. Powerball officials decided to investigate because of the impossibly big number of winners. They found out that all 110 of the winners used the numbers that they found in a fortune cookie made by Wonton Food Inc. The factory printed out the six numbers and five of those matched the official drawing.
The Bottom Line on US Powerball
Powerball is without any doubt a reputable lottery run by a professional organization that has been in business for a lot of years. It offers an opportunity to win big money as well, pretty good odds at least of winning something.
Reputable and well regulated
Fixed prizes, excluding the jackpot
Understanding your state rules
Guessing the five white numbers and seeing the red would have been your sixth number – but you didn’t play Power Play!
If you do choose to play online through one of the US Powerballs ticket sellers, please make sure you review their rules and regulations, terms and conditions and policies!
Have something to add? Leave your comment below, or join the US Powerball Discussion Group.