Before the January 31, 2010 cross-sell expansion, Mega Millions was the only multi-jurisdictional lottery whose drawings were carried nationally, instead of airing only on stations in participating jurisdictions. Chicago-based cable superstation WGN-TV simulcast Mega Millions drawings on its national WGN America feed immediately following WGN's 9pm (Central Time) newscast. Following the cross-sell expansion, WGN also began airing Powerball drawings nationally. WGN served as a default carrier of both major games where no local television station carried either multi-jurisdictional lottery's drawings. Both drawings were removed from WGN America in late 2014 when it ceased carrying WGN's newscasts.
When the Powerball jackpot is won, the next jackpot is guaranteed to be $40 million (annuity). If a jackpot is not won, the minimum rollover is $10 million. The cash in the jackpot pool is guaranteed to be the current value of the annuity. If revenue from ticket sales falls below expectations, game members must contribute additional funds to the jackpot pool to cover the shortage; the most likely scenario where this can occur is if the jackpot is won in consecutive drawings.
The original version of Lotto America (stylized as Lotto*America) was a $1-per-play, pick-7-of-40 game, rather than the pick-6 games that had become wildly popular in U.S. lotteries. Matching four numbers won a fixed prize of $5; matching at least five won a parimutuel prize. Matching all seven won the jackpot, whose odds were roughly 1 in 18 million, at the time the longest odds of a U.S. lottery game. The top prize was a 20-year annuity; there was never a cash option, even though a few games did offer one when L*A ended.
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.
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.
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.
Nowadays there is a plethora of websites to choose from and new companies offer online lottery ticket service every day. Due to the nature of this industry and the fact that newcomers are popping up all over, it is advisable to be diligent and check out the lottery ticket provider carefully before you decide to buy Powerball tickets online with them. This is easily done with a quick google search and an investment of 5 minutes on your part. Trust us, the five minutes is worth it to be sure that when/if you play Powerball online and win, you actually receive your jackpot winnings.