The American Powerball lottery makes use of two machines drawing two sets of numbers. In this way, it is similar to other lotteries like the Mega Millions and EuroMillions. Powerball players need to match five numbers from a possible 69 (these are the white numbers), and one number from a possible 26 (these are the red bonus ‘Powerballs’). If a player matches up all six numbers that have been drawn, they will win the jackpot. Second tier division winners have a $1 million prize to look forward to – one does not even need to match all six numbers in order to become a millionaire with the US Powerball game!
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Through 2008, Powerball drawings usually were held at Screenscape Studios in West Des Moines, Iowa. The drawings' host was longtime Iowa radio personality Mike Pace, who had hosted MUSL drawings since Lotto America began in 1988. In 1996, Powerball went "on the road" for the first time, holding five remote drawings at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. A few weeks later, Georgia became the only jurisdiction to leave Powerball (Maine, which joined MUSL in 1990, left when Powerball began). In August 1996, Georgia joined the then-new The Big Game, then the other major U.S. lottery group. It planned to sell tickets for both games for the rest of 1996; but within days Georgia was removed from MUSL, not to return until the 2010 cross-sell expansion.
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.
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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.”
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Lotto America was the first lottery game offered by MUSL. In 1987, six states and the District of Columbia banded together, since, on their own, they could not create jackpots into the tens of millions of dollars that had become commonplace in the most popular single-state lottery games. MUSL's first game was called "Lotto America" even though only those seven jurisdictions took part. The first Lotto America drawing was in 1988.
In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the legislature in Albany, fearing a monumental loss of revenue, passed legislation the following month, which was signed by Governor George Pataki, which included joining a multi-jurisdictional lottery game. Around the same time, for entirely different reasons, Ohio's governor also gave the green light to joining a multi-jurisdictional game. Both lotteries opted to join The Big Game, which, at the time, was offered in seven states. The added populations of the two new jurisdictions, in turn, led to a larger double matrix. The first machine continued to hold white 52 balls, while 16 gold balls were added in the second, meaning there were 52 numbers to pick from in both parts of each $1 game. On May 15, 2002, the game was renamed The Big Game Mega Millions; shortly after, it became just Mega Millions. Except for the 2010 cross-selling expansion, this was the only time The Big Game or Mega Millions simultaneously added more than one member.
On Jan 31, 2010, the date of the cross-sell expansion, Mega Millions and MUSL each added lotteries; eight Powerball members added Mega Millions by May. The Montana Lottery joined Mega Millions on March 1. Nebraska added Mega Millions on March 20; Oregon followed on March 28; Arizona joined Mega Millions on April 18; Maine added Mega Millions on May 9; Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions on May 16. The U.S. Virgin Islands joined Mega Millions in Oct 2010.
The conditions for Florida joining Powerball included a move of the live drawings from Iowa to Universal Studios in Orlando. The three hosts rotating announcing duties from Universal Studios were Tracy Wiu, Elizabeth Hart and Scott Adams (MUSL headquarters remained in Iowa, where its other draws are held). The wheel that was used to determine the Power Play multiplier was retired when the drawings moved to Florida; a random number generator (RNG) was used until the 2012 format change.
*a tip to know whether the website you are looking at actually buys lottery tickets online or follows the insurance model is to check the wording that they use. If you see the words “Play” then you can be confident it is a company that has agents and buys your tickets physically, if you see the words “Bet” you can be sure it is following the insurance model and you are placing a bet on the outcome of a lottery.