Players who match five numbers from the first pool win $1 million; those matching four numbers from the first pool and the Gold Mega Ball number win $10,000; those matching four numbers from the first pool win $500; those matching three numbers from the first pool and the Gold Mega Ball win $200; those matching two numbers plus the Gold Mega Ball win $10; those matching one number and the Gold Mega Ball win $4; and those matching only the Gold Mega Ball win $2.
Increased levels of lottery play have been linked with certain sections of the U.S. population — men, African-Americans, Native Americans, and those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to one 2011 study of over 5,000 people published in the Journal of Gambling Studies. (Susan Cartwright, a spokeswoman for Scientific Games SGMS, -6.54% which sells scratch cards, says a 2014 study by an independent research firm, Chadwick Martin Bailey, found that lottery players mirror the general public’s ethnicity, employment, and income.)

The advertised estimated jackpot represents the total payments that would be paid to jackpot winner(s) should they accept the annuity option. This estimate is based on the funds accumulated in the jackpot pool rolled over from prior drawings, expected sales for the next drawing, and market interest rates for the securities that would be used to fund the annuity.[2] The estimated jackpot usually is 32.5% of the (non-Power Play) revenue of each base ($1) play, submitted by game members to accumulate into a prize pool to fund the jackpot. If the jackpot is not won in a particular drawing, the prize pool carries over to the next drawing, accumulating until there is a jackpot winner. This prize pool is the cash that is paid to a jackpot winner if they choose cash. If the winner chooses the annuity, current market rates are used to calculate the graduated payment schedule and the initial installment is paid. The remaining funds in the prize pool are invested to generate the income required to fund the remaining installments. If there are multiple jackpot winners for a drawing, the jackpot prize pool is divided equally for all such plays.


The biggest Powerball jackpot, which is also the current lottery jackpot world record, was won on 13 January 2016! The jackpot was worth an incredible $1.58 billion and was shared by three extremely lucky ticket holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The second biggest Powerball jackpot to date was awarded to a lucky lottery player from Massachusetts who won an astounding $758.7 million jackpot in August 2017. Also notable is the story of Gloria MacKenzie, who used Quick Pick and matched all the numbers and the Powerball on 18 May 2013. The jackpot she won was worth $590.5 million! 

Illinois joining Powerball on the expansion date, it became the second multi-jurisdictional lottery game (after Mega Millions, which Illinois already participated in) whose drawings were carried nationally. Both games' drawings were simulcast via Chicago cable superstation WGN-TV through its national WGN America feed. WGN-TV aired Illinois Lottery drawings nationally from 1992 to 2015 after acquiring broadcast rights from Chicago's Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD in 1988, which took the rights from WGN-TV in 1987. Powerball drawings were aired on WGN-TV and WGN America on Wednesday and Saturday immediately following the station's 9pm (Central Time) newscast with the Mega Millions drawings being aired Tue and Fri evenings after the newscast. WGN served as a default carrier of Mega Millions or Powerball where no local television station carries either multi-jurisdictional lottery's drawings.
Unclaimed prizes are kept by the lottery jurisdiction. If a Grand Prize goes unclaimed, the money must be returned to all lotteries in proportion to their sales for the draw run. The lotteries then distribute the money, based on their own jurisdiction's laws, to other lottery games or to their jurisdiction's general fund, or otherwise as required by law.
The minimum jackpot prize is a $15 million annuity disbursed in 30 payments over 29 years which is something many people would elect to do.The 30 annuity payments are not equal but based on an increasing rate schedule. For example, the first annual gross annuity payment on the base $15 million jackpot would be approximately $267,000 while the final payment would be approximately $834,000.
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.

The probability and odds can be taken into a mathematical perspective: The probability of winning the jackpot (through October 27, 2017) was 1:(75C5) x (15); that is: 75 ways for the first white ball times 74 ways for the second times 73 for the third times 72 for the fourth times 71 for the last white ball divided by 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1, or 5!, and this number is then multiplied by 15 (15 possible numbers for the "Megaball"). Therefore, (75 x 74 x 73 x 72 x 71)/ (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1) x 15 = 258,890,850, which means any combination of five white balls plus the Megaball has a 1:258,890,850 chance of winning the jackpot. Similarly, the odds for second prize are 1:(75C5) x (15/14) = 1: 18,492,204 chance of winning. The overall probability of winning any prize was 1 in 14.7. If there are no jackpot winners for a specific drawing, the jackpot will keep increasing, however, the odds will still remain the same.
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]

Jump up ^ "Powerball - Contact". Multi-State Lottery Association. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015. Sure, the odds of matching 1 red ball out of 35 are 1 in 35, but we are not giving the odds for matching a red ball. We give the odds for winning a prize for matching one red ball ALONE. If you match the red ball plus at least one white ball, you win some other prize, but not this prize. The odds of matching one red ball ALONE are harder than 1 in 35 because there is some risk that you will also match one or more white ball numbers - and then win a different prize.


The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries dispute the findings of these various studies. Lottery retailers are located in areas where people work, not just in low-income neighborhoods, along with grocery stores, the organization says. This is why you will find more lottery outlets in the center of a city, just as you would find more grocery stores and convenience stores, the NASPL adds. Since the New Hampshire lottery was founded in 1964, according to the NASPL, it says lotteries have raised more than $200 billion for government programs in North America.
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.
Drawings for Powerball are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Since October 7, 2015, the game has used a 5/69 (white balls) + 1/26 (Powerballs) matrix from which winning numbers are chosen, resulting in odds of 1 in 292,201,338 of winning a jackpot per play.[1] Each play costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option. (Originally, Powerball plays cost $1; when PowerPlay began, such games were $2.) The official cutoff for ticket sales is 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time; some lotteries cut off sales earlier.[2] The drawings are usually held at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee.
On March 13, 2010, New Jersey became the first Mega Millions participant (just before the cross-sell expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning ticket for Powerball after joining that game. The ticket was worth over $211 million annuity (the cash option was chosen). On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first Powerball member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket after joining Mega Millions, with an annuity jackpot of $12 million.
Mega Millions players have the option to activate a multiplier, called Megaplier, in 45 of its 46 jurisdictions; it is functionally similar to Powerball's Power Play; except the latter cannot multiply second prize by 5. (Neither Megaplier nor Power Play are offered in California because its state penal code distinguishes between a "lottery" in which the bank cannot be "broken", and a "banked game" whose bank theoretically could be broken; only a "lottery" was authorized by the state Lottery Act.) By adding $1 to a basic Mega Millions game, to $3, a player has an opportunity to multiply any non-jackpot prize by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery (before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, 2010, it was the only lottery to offer Megaplier), which is drawn by a random number generator (RNG). The odds for each Megaplier possibility are not uniform.[19]

Yes - this is known as "pooling" or "syndication". A group of family members, friends, or colleagues put funds together to purchase more tickets, and then equally share out any prizes they win. Bear in mind, one nominated person will have to act as the ticket holder, and it's important that they are reliable and trustworthy. You should also have a binding legal agreement.


When it was launched in 1992 Powerball became the first game to use two drums. Using two drums to draw numbers from offers more manipulation by simultaneously allowing high jackpot odds, numerous prize levels and low overall odds of winning (as explained later, a ticket can win by matching only one number). The two-drum concept was suggested by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery. The two-drum concept has since been used by The Big Game (now Mega Millions) in the US, Australia's Powerball, Thunderball in the UK, Eurojackpot and EuroMillions (unlike most two-drum games, Euromillions selects two numbers called "Lucky Stars" from the 2nd drum; jackpot winners must make a total of seven matches).[citation needed]

This method specifically has faced criticism recently from a number of lottery organizers such as Camelot, the UK National Lottery organizers who are not happy with companies “selling tickets” (selling bets on outcomes of their established lottery draws) for prices sometimes even cheaper than Camelot themselves sells their tickets. This legal and corporate dispute looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, in the mean time you can continue to buy Powerball tickets online, only now you are aware of the key differences between the two business models. 
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