The American Powerball,known as "Lotto America" made it debut way back in 1988, which makes it one of the oldest Lottery games around today. In 1992 they changed the name to the Powerball lottery, with the first official Powerball draw being held on April 19th, 1992. The game has grown and evolved over the years now totalling 44 States and various changes being applied to the ball and prize structure from the game back in 1988. These include a change in the annuity prize payments from 20 yearly payments to 30, and the addition of a cash option for the jackpot as the jackpot is massive averaging around $100 million.
Other winners in excess of $250 million: On December 25, 2002, Jack Whittaker, president of a construction firm in Putnam County, West Virginia, won $314.9 million ($428 million today), then a new record for a single ticket in an American lottery. Whittaker chose the cash option of $170 million, receiving approximately $83 million after West Virginia and Federal withholdings.[35]
Presumably due to their experience with the Power Play option for Powerball, all 23 lotteries joining Mega Millions on January 31, 2010 immediately offered Megaplier to their players. The Megaplier continues to be drawn by Texas Lottery computers, as California does not offer the multiplier. Montana, offering Powerball before the expansion date, became the 24th lottery to offer the Megaplier, followed by Nebraska (the 25th), Oregon (the 26th), Arizona (as the 27th) and Maine (as the 28th lottery to offer the Megaplier option). After Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions, this raised the number of lotteries offering the Megaplier to 37.
On May 18, 2013, the world's largest one-ticket jackpot, an annuity of approximately $590.5 million ($620 million today), was won by a Powerball ticket sold in Zephyrhills, Florida.[33] On June 5, Florida Lottery officials announced the winner: Gloria C. MacKenzie, 84, who purchased the "quick pick" ticket at a Publix supermarket.[34] MacKenzie chose the cash option of approximately $370.8 million, before Federal withholding; Florida does not have a state income tax.[34]
On January 13, 2016, the world's largest lottery jackpot, an annuity of approximately $1.586 billion, was split among three Powerball tickets in Chino Hills, California, Melbourne Beach, Florida and Munford, Tennessee, each worth $528.8 million. Since there is no income tax in Florida or Tennessee (and California does not tax lottery winnings), the cash option after Federal withholdings is $187.2 million each.[32]
These changes were made to increase the frequency of nine-figure jackpots; a Powerball spokesperson believed a $500 million jackpot was feasible (it became a reality within the year,[15]) and that the 1st $1 billion jackpot in US history would occur by 2012[16] Less than three months after the Powerball changes, Mega Millions' jackpot reached $656,000,000 despite remaining a $1-per-play game.[17] The random Power Play multiplier was retired for a set, fixed dollar amount payout.[18] The $25 million rollover "cap" (creating larger 5+0 prizes) was eliminated.
The structure of the draw is one which regular lottery players will be very familiar with; players must pick 5 regular numbers from a pool with a total of 69 numbers and in addition to these regular number picks, you also choose one bonus ball (known as the Powerball) from a pool of 26. These two pools of numbers are mutually exclusive and remain completely separate throughout the drawing procedure. In order to jackpot the US Powerball, you need to match all 5 regular numbers and the Powerball. Do this and you are instant Powerball millionaire – it’s as simple as that!
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