Generally, Powerball players do not have to choose cash or annuity unless they win a jackpot (then they usually have 60 days to choose.) Exceptions include Florida and Missouri; the 60-day "clock" starts with the drawing, so a jackpot winner who wishes to take the cash option needs to make immediate plans to claim their prize. New Jersey and Texas require the cash/annuity choice to be made when playing; in New Jersey, an annuity ticket can be changed to cash after winning, while in Texas, the choice is binding (when the cash option was introduced in 1997, all Powerball players had to make the choice when playing. This regulation was phased out by 1999.) All Powerball prizes must be claimed within a period ranging from 90 days to a year, depending on where the ticket was bought.
State lotteries have become a significant source of revenue for states, raising $17.6 billion in profits for state budgets in the 2009 fiscal year (FY) with 11 states collecting more revenue from their state lottery than from their state corporate income tax during FY2009. Lottery policies within states can have conflicting goals. Given that instructions are passed down from state legislatures, lottery implementation is often expected to be carried out with reduced advertising and funding while still producing the same amount of revenue. This issue led states to look for loopholes in the system. Massachusetts, for example, had its advertising budget dramatically cut, and therefore started using free-play coupons as money to pay for advertising. This led to an IRS investigation into alleged non-reporting of income because the IRS considered the coupons to have monetary value.
America's two biggest lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, have combined jackpots of nearly $900 million in drawings this week. The jackpot in the next Powerball drawing, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 3, is an estimated $460 million. The next Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot is an estimated $418 million, takes place Friday, Jan. 5. A surge in ticket sales could boost both jackpots.
The average chief executive of an S&P 500 company made $13.1 million per year in 2016 — equivalent to 347 times more money than the average worker, according to separate data released by Executive Pay Watch, a report conducted by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). “When adjusted for inflation, the average wage has remained stagnant for 50 years,” it found. Given this growing gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. the almost impossible odds of winning, Bernal describes $10, $30 and $50 scratch cards and lottery tickets a “Hail Mary investment strategy for the poor.”
The largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was $656 million annuity value (with a cash option of $474 million) for the March 30, 2012 drawing, in which there were three jackpot-winning tickets; one each in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. All three tickets had been claimed by April 18, with each set of winners choosing the cash option of $158 million.[6]
The October 28, 2017 Mega Millions' format change resulted in the game's first price increase: plays are $2 each ($3 with the Megaplier; up from $1 and $2 respectively); as part of the format change, the "Just the Jackpot" option was introduced to seven of the game's members. The new option is two plays for $3; only the jackpot can be won (or shared) on this wager.[3][4][5]
Two machines are used in each Mega Millions drawing. The model used for Mega Millions is the Criterion II, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. The balls are moved around by means of counter-rotating arms which randomly mix the balls. Individually, the five white balls, several seconds apart, drop through a hole in the bottom of the mixing drum.
Two identical machines are used for each drawing, randomly selected from four sets. The model of machine used is the Halogen, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. There are eight ball sets (four of each color); one set of each color is randomly selected before a drawing. The balls are mixed by a turntable at the bottom of the machine that propels the balls around the chamber. When the machine selects a ball, the turntable slows to catch it, sends it up the shaft, and then down the rail to the display.
The two different methods, both offer you, the player, the same user experience and the only difference is in the back end of how the online lottery ticket provider works. The two methods that online lottery sites use differ in one key way; They either have agents and employees all over the world that physically purchase tickets on behalf of clients or, the more recent phenomenon is when companies essentially take out an insurance policy on every ticket which is tied to the size of the jackpot. This is the difference between you playing the lottery online and betting on the lottery online*. In the latter option you are, de facto, not playing the US Powerball online but rather you are placing a bet with an insurance company on the outcome of the corresponding Powerball draw. 
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