Having initially played 'little sister’ to Mega Millions, changes made to Powerball in January 2012 and October 2015 meant that the Powerball lottery now consistently awards the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. In the year after the 2012 changes just under one in two (actual amount: 50 out of 104) Powerball draw jackpots were more than $100,000,000.
The odds of winning any Powerball prize are now just 1 in 24.87, while the chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.
Radical changes introduced in the fall of 2015 increased the chances of seeing even more huge Powerball jackpots. Throw into the mix the $40,000,000 starting jackpot and you have the world’s most exciting and rewarding lottery.
The 2015 changes extended the main ball pool to 69 balls, adding another ten numbers. However, at the same time, the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This means that although the overall odds of winning the jackpot have increased to 1 in 292 million, the overall odds of winning any prize have decreased to 1 in 24.87. The first draw incorporating the changes took place on October 7th and also saw an increase in the tier three prize (matching 4+1) climb to $50,000.
The increased starting jackpot in 2012, along with the $1,000,000 prize for matching five numbers, meant there were more Powerball millionaires created. But it wasn’t just the big winners that were affected by these changes; the minimum prize win also increased to $4.
Choose five numbers from between 1 and 69. Like nearly all lotteries, none of these five numbers can be the same and the order doesn't matter. You'll also choose a Powerball number between 1 and 26. We recommend you spend a little more and take the Power Play option; we explain why in more detail below. Once you’ve bought a ticket, you’re going to have to wait for the drawings to take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. (EST). It’s that simple and will take you one step closer to hunting down that big win.
Every time a Powerball ticket is bought, a massive 50% goes towards prizes (20% into the jackpot pool, the other 30% towards other prizes). The remaining 50% goes to the state where the ticket was bought to cover operating costs, retailer costs and, of course, good causes.
Payouts are awarded according to how many numbers you have matched. The golden rule is that the more numbers matched the bigger the prize. The biggest decision you’ll need to make is your Powerball number, as matching this alone will win you $4, match just two more regular numbers and you’re on your way.
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Odds of Winning|
|5 + Powerball||Jackpot||1 in 292,201,338.00|
|5||$1,000,000||1 in 11,688,053.52|
|4 + Powerball||$50,000||1 in 913,129.18|
|4||$100||1 in 36,525.17|
|3 + Powerball||$100||1 in 14,494.11|
|3||$7||1 in 579.76|
|2 + Powerball||$7||1 in 701.33|
|1 + Powerball||$4||1 in 91.98|
|Powerball only||$4||1 in 38.32|
On top of the cost of a regular ticket, you can pay extra for the Power Play option which acts as a multiplier of prizes in a similar way to how Mega Millions’ Megaplier does. Taking the Power Play option multiplies winnings earned by matching just one number right through to matching five numbers - turning the $1,000,000 prize into a $2,000,000 prize.
For example, the basic $4 prize for getting just the Powerball in the regular game can become a $40 prize with the Power Play option. There is no multiplier for the jackpot prize if you use the Power Play, but if you’ve won the jackpot, you sure won’t be complaining.
Players who spend an extra $1 on the Power Play option can see their prize multiplied by two, three, four, five or even ten times the normal amount, depending on the multiplier for that draw. However, the 10x multiplier will only multiply your prize when the jackpot is below $150 million and for prizes that are $50,000 or less.
The table below illustrates how the Power Play option affects each prize.
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Prize With Multiplier||2x||3x||4x||5x||10x|
|5 + Powerball||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot|
|4 + Powerball||$50,000||$100,000||$150,000||$200,000||$250,000||$500,000|
|3 + Powerball||$100||$200||$300||$400||$500||$1,000|
|2 + Powerball||$7||$14||$21||$28||$35||$70|
|1 + Powerball||$4||$8||$12||$16||$20||$40|
Powerball has been running since 1992, following the rebranding of Lotto*America. The first ever draw of Powerball was held on April 22, 1992. Since then, the Powerball lottery has expanded rapidly and is now sold in 47 US states and territories and has a minimum jackpot of $40 million.
Draws are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10.59 p.m. (EST) and there are five winning numbers drawn from a pool of 69 balls, as well as one extra ball called the Powerball. If you're lucky enough to match five numbers and the Powerball, then you'll hit the jackpot, just like the many winners over the years. Be sure to visit this page after the latest draw for the most recent Powerball lottery results, to find out if you're one of those lucky people.
One funny story concerning the Powerball draw came in March, 2005 when 110 players matched all five winning numbers, minus the Powerball (22, 28, 32, 33 and 39). The Powerball lottery officials, who were understandably suspicious, paid out nearly $20 million. It soon came to light that a biscuit company from New York named Wonton Food had printed six numbers to go in their fortune cookies and these numbers really had proved to be lucky, as they were the five Powerball numbers, minus the Powerball! Unfortunately for the 110 players, they were just two off the Powerball number of 42, as the number 40 had been predicted in the fortune cookies.
Winning Powerball numbers can be claimed for up to a year after the draw date, but this can vary, depending on which state the lottery ticket was bought in. The revenue created by Powerball tickets is used by each state in whichever way that they choose, with education sectors often benefiting from the profits.