On 19 April 1992, Powerball officially replaced the Lotto America lottery, a multi-state game which began in 1988. The US Powerball was the first lottery game to use a two drum method. Drawing numbers from two separate drums offered more manipulation by means of simultaneously allowing high jackpot odds, numerous levels of prizes and low overall odds of winning.
Powerball is offered in 44 states: Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. It is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) which is a non-profit organization formed by an agreement with the US lotteries. The minimum advertised Powerball jackpot is $40 million and winners can choose an annuity which is paid in 30 graduated instalments over 29 years, or a lump sum pay-out known as the cash value option. The cash value pay-out is less than the total of the annual payments because of the time value of money.
The largest jackpot in history was recorded on January 13, 2016 with a whopping $1.658 billion being shared between three tickets sold in Chino Hills, California; Munford, Tennessee and Melbourne Beach, Florida.
Powerball tickets cost just $2 per play,or $3 if you choose the Power Play option. Power Play is a feature whereby non-jackpot or lower-tier prizes are multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10. The number by which the amount is multiplied is selected just before each drawing, with the 10x multiplier only being used when the advertised jackpot is less than $150 million. The Power Play’s Match 5 prize is always $2 million.
The basic Powerball allows you the option to choose five numbers from a set of 69 white balls and one number from 26 red Powerballs. The chosen Powerball number can be the same as one of the white ball numbers. This system has been in place since October 7, 2015, resulting in the odds of 1 in 292 201 338 of winning a jackpot per play. You can choose your own numbers on a pay slip or allow the lottery terminal to randomly pick your numbers for you in what is known as a “quick pick” or “easy pick”.
If you have won a prize, it must be collected in the jurisdiction in which the winning ticket was bought. Prizes of up to $600 can generally be claimed at any licensed lottery retailer in the jurisdiction. Prizes over $600 can be claimed at some of the lottery offices, depending on the amount. Prizes over $600 and large wins can also be claimed at the lottery headquarters. A winner has between 90 days to 1 year to collect their winnings, depending on the jurisdiction. The expiration date is, more often than not, printed on the back of your Powerball ticket.
Powerball Drawing Time
The sales cut-off time for the Powerball is around 10:00pm Eastern Time but may vary depending on the selling jurisdiction. Generally the cut off time will be no later than an hour before the draw. Powerball draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59pm Eastern Time and are usually held at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee.
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